Australian ambulance to grant patients’ dying wishes

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Some of the wishes of terminally ill people are like visiting pets, children or grandchildren, museums and art galleries. Above, is a patient visiting a botanical garden. (AFP)
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The program was inspired by ambulance officers who took a detour to the beach, based on patient's requests, in late 2017. (AFP)
Updated 26 July 2019

Australian ambulance to grant patients’ dying wishes

  • Queensland state government will dedicate a decommissioned ambulance to grant wishes for dying patients
  • The Australian initiative is modelled after a similar program in the Netherlands

SYDNEY: Inspired by an Australian ambulance crew who took a dying woman to the beach on her way to hospital, officials have announced a dedicated vehicle to grant final wishes to terminally ill patients.
In late 2017, ambulance officers in the northern state of Queensland took a detour on the way to hospital as per the wishes of a dying patient who wanted to see the ocean one last time.
The touching gesture was captured by a photo showing a paramedic beside a stretcher facing the ocean at Hervey Bay, on Australia’s northeast coast.
This week the Queensland state government announced it was dedicating a decommissioned ambulance to granting dying wishes of terminally ill patients, such as visiting their pets, their children, their grandchildren or visiting an art gallery or museum.
“Fulfilling the final wishes of people can be challenging as you could be transporting someone who can’t walk, or sit in a chair, or who might require continuous oxygen or other medical appliances and support,” Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said in a statement.
The Australian-first initiative is modelled on a similar program run in the Netherlands.
“With the Ambulance Wish Queensland program medically trained volunteers, adapted ambulances, and necessary equipment will transport people to fulfil their wish successfully and safely,” Miles added.


Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

Updated 04 June 2020

Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

  • US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic
  • Elective medical procedures resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery

MIAMI: Quarantined Florida residents worried about their laughter lines and crows’ feet need frown no longer — Botox is back, and it’s being offered at a drive-through.
On May 4, the US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic. That means certain elective medical procedures could resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery.
Michael Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon known as ‘Dr. Miami’ who has also starred in a reality television show, has been conducting drive-through Botox injections in the garage of his building in the posh Miami neighborhood of Bal Harbor.
Salzhauer said the idea struck him as he was sitting in his car waiting for a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies.
“The areas that we inject Botox are the upper face, exactly the parts of the face that aren’t covered by the mask so it’s really ideal,” Salzhauer said, while wearing a mask, face shield and surgical gown as he waited for his next drive-up patient.
Patients sign up online, paying an average of $600 each for a stippling of shots across their foreheads.
Arman Ohevshalom, 36, was enthusiastic as he waited in line with his wife in their car, although it was their first time receiving the injections.
“It’s very creative, and after seeing how they’re running it I feel just as comfortable as I would in the office,” he said.
Florida’s tattoo artists, however, are frustrated. Shuttered since March, they asking why they cannot open, too.
Botox injections are “kind of like tattooing, he’s injecting stuff into the skin,” said tattoo shop owner Chico Cortez. Florida is home to about 10,000 working tattoo artists, according to the Florida Professional Tattoo Artist Guild.
An emailed statement from a Miami-Dade County spokesperson said Mayor Carlos Gimenez has yet to set a date for reopening tattoo shops. “He is working with industry members and the medical experts to come up with the best way to reopen safely,” it said.