The sanitary technician DR is confined in his town of Cáceres. 10 days ago, they gave him the same diagnosis that people who are taken to the hospital every day receive: “Covid positive.” DR has had three days of high fever. Now, with the symptoms subsiding, this ‘special covid’ ambulance technician muses aloud: “I was infected in the vehicle, sure. You protect yourself, but due to stress and fatigue you start to neglect yourself. More than once I have seen myself with my face glued to that of the patient whom I help to get into the ambulance, “he says after requesting anonymity.
The DR case is repeated in other parts of the country, but it has a rural exception: “Each technician has to apply the disinfection protocol as you can and know. Disinfecting the vehicle between trips can take you two hours that you don’t have, “he says. At the end of the day, he begins to disinfect it with bleach & mldr; at the door of his house.
A technician “commented that they had assigned the vehicle to him without cleaning or sterilization”, collect an internal mail from the Extremadura Health Service
In Extremadura, several Tenorio Ambulance ships, which have practically all of the regional health transport, have been enabled for anti-covid disinfection of vehicles. “But –reveals DR- you do a lot of kilometers, you get to the ship and you still have to wait a couple of hours, because the one who keeps the key has had to go out to do a transport. “Tenorio ambulances did not answer the questions of this newspaper.
Last March, Juana lozano, a patient who attended dialysis from her home in Mérida to the Perpetuo Socorro hospital in Badajoz, was frightened when the ambulance technician who came to pick her up “told her that the vehicle was left by a colleague who had just transferred another patient They assigned it to him without doing any kind of cleaning, disinfection or sterilization. “
This is how he tells it an internal email of the Extremadura Health Service to which EL PERIÓDICO has had access, which reached Manuela Rubio, Deputy Director of Primary Care, and that is part of a documentation on risks that the Superior Court of Justice of Extremadura evaluated this summer.
Bleach and ozone
Based on brushing with reality, the protocol decays. In Barcelona and Madrid, the vehicle that has had contact with the coronavirus is “ozonized” if it has been reported. “We lack unified protocols for disinfection of cars and workplaces. Depending on the company, there may or may not be an ozone machine, or you do the cleaning yourself, but without suitable PPE “, the sanitary technician denounces from Barcelona Walter Alvarez.
In Aragon bleach is used, and by the technician himself. “The ambulances are sanitized quickly and running, with what remains some corner without cleaning. The moment a patient is dropped, they are almost calling you to go for the next one. You don’t have time to do it well, “says JF, a veteran of the region’s ambulances who asks for the same anonymity.
No authority supervises how disinfections are carried out, only protocols are issued and questions are asked by email. “There is no such inspection. As there is no single protocol – laments the technician Javier Abella, member of the Sanitary Technicians area of the Spanish Society of Emergency and Emergency Medicine (SEMES) -. Each autonomy carries out its own procedure and each company executes it a little in the way that best suits them. There is no type of verification procedure that this way of proceeding is effective “
The situation is illustrated by the case of ozone, which is used by various contracts. “Ozone is not recommended by the Ministry of Health, nor does it appear in the list of virucidal products authorized in Spain “, recalls Abella.
Last April, in the midst of the downpour of the pandemic, the SATSE-Castilla y León nursing union wrote to the Castilian health management requesting a unified disinfection protocol for ambulances. In the absence of clear orders, the technicians were taking “the measures that they have considered most appropriate at all times to reduce risk, “the letter said. The unified protocol arrived, but three months later.
The problem is seen throughout the country. From SEMES, the technician Javier Abella confirms: “We have a lack of training: it is not the same to clean the ambulance as it is ordinarily done than to do it under the biological risk criteria of this pandemic. We have procedures, but if you don’t train them & mldr; very good protocol, but it will not be effective if the executing hand does not know it. These months the technicians have been learning to disinfect on their own initiativeNot because the companies have given it to us. “