Off topic: Santiago de Chile
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:32
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Feb 23

Where else could I ask about Chile? Here a question to fellow linguists in Chile.

I just saw the movie Una Mujer Fantastica. Great story. But I started to wonder if one episode is perhaps unrealistic.
If you live there perhaps you could tell me your opinion. If someone fells sick at home in the city, would it not be more natural to call an ambulance than take the week dying person into your car and drive him to the hospital?
Part of the plot depends on the fact that the patient fell down the stairs and was wounded all over his body, but why didn't she call an ambulance?
Driving to the hospital in a private car or taxi works as a device to make a movie more dramatic. But at least in Europe it does not sound true. How about Santiago?


Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I haven't seen the movie... but Feb 24

In certain circumstances, I will attempt to take an ill person to the hospital instead of waiting for an ambulance that might never arrive. It happens.í-por-falta-de-ambulancia?fb_comment_id=1926728050675685_1931551463526677

And this one, a man died as the ambulance arrived after 40 minutes.

[Edited at 2018-02-24 02:11 GMT]


Robin Levey
Local time: 03:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not at all unrealistic Feb 24

I haven’t seen the film (yet – it’s getting its FTA TV première here next week), but I see nothing "unrealistic" about the idea of taking a sick person to hosptal in a private car or taxi. In Chile (and not just in Santiago) it often makes good sense - and can save lives.

It’s difficult to discuss the topic without breaking the Proz “no politics on the forum” rule. So I offer a couple of quotes from the Chilean press instead (with my highlighting).

Entre 3 y 12 horas puede llegar a esperar un paciente trasladado en ambulancia de urgencia hacia un recinto asistencial.
Así lo aseguran desde la Asociación Nacional de Reanimadores de Chile (Anrech), quienes incluso señalan que han existido casos en que se ha debido aguardar en el estacionamiento de los hospitales por 24 horas.
¿La razón? La falta de camas y especialistas médicos, lo cual obliga a desarrollar tediosas esperas que, además de poner en peligro a los enfermos, no permiten atender nuevas emergencias.
Marco San Martín, parte del directorio de la Anrech, explicó a El Mercurio que por protocolo “nosotros entramos al paciente en nuestra camilla a la urgencia, le hacen las primeras pruebas y después lo tienen que hospitalizar ahí o hacer exámenes para saber si se va o no”.
“Nosotros estamos obligados a esperar hasta que eso pase y ahí pueden pasar varias horas porque en el sistema público no hay camas, no está el médico que se necesita o los equipos para hacer los exámenes están ocupados. En todo ese rato, nosotros no nos podemos ir”, agregó.

Sin embargo, pese a que llamaron oportunamente a la ambulancia, ésta no llegó. Incluso, personal de Carabineros en bicicleta asistió a este hombre mayor. El servicio de emergencia le indicó a la policía que la ambulancia tenía demora de 10 horas.

Finalmente, tras esperar más de dos horas tendido en el piso, llegó la hermana del anciano al lugar y decidió llevarlo en taxi a un centro hospitalario.
Según los expertos, si no se observa ningún trauma y los servicios de emergencia tienen esta demora, no es mala idea llevar al accidentado en vehículos particulares.

The above examples ocurred in Rancagua (the first large city south of Santiago) and Nuñoa (part of Gran Santiago) but the advice in the last sentence is valid throughout the country - not least considering that many people (myself included...) live 100km or more from the nearest "proper" hospital and/or ambulance station.

Apart from the well-publicised failings in the real-life system, there are other factors that may be relevant in the context of the film plot. For example, if the patient was already being treated at a private clinic prior to the emergency, it would make sense to take him straight to that same clinic, by the fastest means possible, and avoid going through the trauma and delay of multi-stage triage in the public system.


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 23:32
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Another reason Feb 25

Apart from the reasons mentioned by Clarisa, in many countries calling an ambulance is not covered by insurance (if you even have one) and prohibitively expensive.

[Edited at 2018-02-25 16:57 GMT]


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:32
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Thanks for the information Feb 26

So the scene was not unrealistic at all. I will tell this my wife, who commented on the movie saying she hates it when a movie uses unrealistic plots to make things more dramatic.


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