Ambulance firm send media nude shot of patient

SINGAPORE - A private ambulance operator has drawn the ire of a mother, after it sent a nude photo of her son to his school and a Chinese newspaper.

Singapore Emergency Medical Care Training and Services (SMCT) sent the picture after it was asked by Shin Min newspaper about a $2,850 bill incurred when a boy received aid during a sports event held by Temasek Polytechnic in March.

The boy's mother was quoted by Shin Min as saying: "When the school told me they received my son's nude photo, I couldn't believe it. What right do they have to do this?"

In its reply, SMCT said it sent the picture to the school as it would have shown why the boy needed treatment. A spokesman also said the parents had given permission for this, and it was "implied" that the picture could be sent on to the media.

The media was told the student was "running a temperature", so "it required us to provide factual information", he added.

SMCT also said no fees were collected from the student, and the bill was what the school had agreed on for the company's work that day.

The polytechnic had hired the firm to provide a safety ambulance during its sports event, and the third-year student had complained of fever, dizziness and chest pain, the SMCT spokesman told The Straits Times.

Having diagnosed the student with heat exhaustion, its paramedics stripped and sponged him to lower his temperature. They also performed ECGs on him as his heart seemed to be beating very fast.

All this was recorded by video cameras in the ambulance, installed as "footage can provide... crucial information required to save the patient", he said.

The Ministry of Health last month said it had received eight complaints - mostly regarding overcharging - about SMCT.

Shin Min, which did not print the nude picture, did not name the student to protect his privacy, and he declined to speak to The Straits Times.


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