SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

112

IT SEEMS the Slovak counterpart to the American 911 emergency line could use some life-support itself. On one weekend in January, many ambulance crews complained that they were slowly running out of supplies, thanks to new distribution rules introduced by the Health Ministry.

IT SEEMS the Slovak counterpart to the American 911 emergency line could use some life-support itself. On one weekend in January, many ambulance crews complained that they were slowly running out of supplies, thanks to new distribution rules introduced by the Health Ministry.

Once that problem was resolved, the 112 emergency line crashed in the Žilina Region, forcing the Interior Ministry to release a list of regular cell-phone numbers that people were to call when in need. And then finally came news that during that system collapse a woman died – not because she couldn’t reach an ambulance. Doctors were informed. But current legislation doesn’t allow them to leave their stations without explicit commands from the operation centre – whose line was dead.


So within just a week we saw a failure of leadership, technical infrastructure, legislation and individual decision-making.

So far, no one seems to be accepting responsibility for the absurd situation – Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik refused to even acknowledge there was a problem with supplies, the state blamed Slovak Telekom for the dead line, the firm in turn blamed everything on “human error”, and ambulance crews said going out without explicit orders would mean sanctions against them.

Wondering who to call in a situation when the emergency system is showing signs of serious illness makes no sense. Even if there was a number, it would not work; the person on the other end would not care; and there would be some law forbidding him to do anything anyway.

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

Leaving home will be nearly impossible without a negative test

Mass testing, which the government has now branded as screening, starts tomorrow.

PM Igor Matovič

Why Trump's Twitter ban is no censorship

The solution is to force Facebook to regulate their content more — not less.

Economic restart after COVID-19 should be green

Slovakia’s plan for using money from the EU’s Recovery Fund, innovation potential and examples of green solutions and the challenge of renovating buildings are among the highlights of the latest Business Focus.

The Velux plant in Partizánske utilises 97 percent of waste from production.

More tips for outings in Bratislava during the lockdown

Walks along the Danube bank offer a feeling of being far from the city rush.

This place, part of Ovsištské Lúky (Ovsište Meadows) in Petržalka, is still Bratislava.