Authorities urged people on Friday to refrain from calling the ambulance service for non-emergencies, after receiving scores of calls daily from jittery parents and teachers for minor injuries following the death of a 10-year-old boy after a school accident last week.
According to the head of the ambulance service, Riana Constantinou, the calls the service receives increased tenfold since the death of 10-year-old Stavros Giorgallis, but the majority concerned non-emergency cases.
The majority of these calls, she said, are from parents and teachers who request an ambulance transfer of children even “with the slightest injury or complaint of illness”.
Constantinou said that they also received calls for incidents where ambulances are not necessary as the patient may very well be transferred to hospital by private cars.
“This has had a toll on our service,” Constantinou told the Cyprus Mail.
She made an appeal to the public to use the ambulance service only for emergencies and think twice before calling for one.
Giorgallis fell while playing basketball in school during physical education and hit his head.
He was rushed to Larnaca general hospital by his mother, where doctors at the A&E department ran tests and took an x-ray but found nothing wrong at the time and the boy was sent home. He was rushed back two hours later in critical condition.
Following a CT scan in Larnaca, Giorgallis was rushed to Nicosia general for surgery after the scan showed a haematoma. The boy died on the operating room table.
A radiologist later found that the x-ray showed a skull fracture, according to police.
A subsequent probe by the education ministry into the circumstances around the accident and how the supervising teacher and the school had acted following the accident, has raised, it seems, concerns in schools over their accountability in such cases.