Praphan Sribao, a native of Nong Bua Lamphu province, could have died of acute myocardial infarction - a sudden heart attack - a few months ago if he had not been given a vital, expensive anticoagulant within 30 minutes after experiencing sharp pains in h
His life was saved thanks to a network linking several government hospitals and giving them immediate access to expensive medicines.
Emergency treatment in the provinces has become more effective as pictorials and detailed documentation on patients can be shared immediately among hospitals in the network through the Line application, said Dr Sutthi Thawornyutitham, a resident physician at Nong Bua Lamphu province. Dr Sutthi was one of the medical personnel who initiated this local network.
Praphan, 50, said he suffered a sharp pain in his chest and stomach before he was taken to the Sri Bun Rueng hospital, a district-level hospital that is part of the network.
After being administered an anticoagulant immediately, he was transferred to the Nong Bua Lamphu provincial hospital and then taken to Udon Thani General Hospital. At all these hospitals, he was correctly diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction and was treated.
He is now taking cheaper anticoagulant doses and other medicines.
This network involves several hospitals at different levels in Nong Bua Lamphu and other provinces, and is supported by the National Health Security Office (NHSO), which supplies them with a sufficient number of expensive anticoagulant doses for heart-attack cases handled by the network.
Also, members of staff at these hospitals have undergone special training on diagnosing severe heart conditions, and are authorised to prescribe drugs in emergency cases without having to go through excessive bureaucratic red tape.
Thanks to this network, the rate of heart-attack fatalities at participating hospitals has dropped to 9 per cent, compared with 14.4 per cent faced by other hospitals nationwide, Sutthi said.
The prescription of anticoagulant doses, each priced at nearly Bt10,000, at hospitals under NHSO Area 8 – which covers the upper Northeast – has risen to 91.3 per cent compared with 45 per cent two years ago thanks to this network.
NHSO secretary-general Winai Sawatdiworn said acute myocardial infarction affected 9,980 out of 100,000 people last year.
Diagnosis and prescription of anticoagulants is necessary within the first 30 minutes in emergency cases, followed by other treatments and medication in the following 12 hours.
There are more than 900 government clinics and hospitals at all levels taking part in the network, which covers all 13 NHSO area offices across the country.
Of them, 320 have been supplied with anticoagulants and authorised to prescribe them in emergency cases.