I have worked for many years in San Pedro as an RN/midwife. The biggest problem we have is not having a central location for emergencies to be taken to and treated where trained staff are in attendance. Much time is wasted looking around trying to find a doctor or nurse or waiting for someone to arrive at a clinic to give treatment. If everyone knew where to take an emergency, it would save much time.If a nurse or paramedic where there 24 hours able to provide emergency treatment while getting a doctor on call it would save time and lives. There are many first aiders on the island, all tour guides have to have first aid certificates. The island is very small,it just takes a few minutes to get anywhere on the island, the problem is NOT how to transport the patient to a location on the island, the problem is not having a location open to take them to. Not all emergencies would have to be evacuated in the middle of the night at great cost, only the more serious life threatening ones. Having anything other than a 24 hour unit (which I call an ER)to take them to and to keep them in for observation if not evacuating immediately seems useless and not providing a necessary service.I was not involved in the recent tragic situation,I don't know why it took three hours to arrange a flight for the lady needing an evacuation but I suspect much time was lost finding a doctor to evaluate her condition.
A helicopter on call or stationed on the island would be ideal, but not financially practical. People cannot afford the charter of a small plane and a helicopter is much more expensive.We have the planes here. They do land at Municpal at night, it just takes a 15 minute flight.It doesn't take long to arrange it. However, it does cost money.