The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) condemned the improper use of one of its registered ambulances in Abaco which was used as a prop for a prom entrance on June 13 and has launched an internal investigation as one of the personnel has reportedly been suspended.
The pictures, which first appeared on social media site, Facebook, went viral across The Bahamas and is now garnering attention across the globe as reports of the stunt appeared on websites BuzzFeed and subsequently Cosmopolitan.
While views among Bahamians varied greatly from admiration for a creative entrance to outright disgust for the misuse of an emergency vehicle, the PHA wasted no time in condemning the act in a press release June 15.
It said that the PHA “finds it despicable that an ambulance under the management of the Authority was used in the execution of a prom event in Marsh Harbour, Abaco at the weekend.”
They further stated that the use of the ambulance goes against the rules regarding the dispatching and use of emergency vehicles “which should only be dispatched solely for the purpose of medical transport.”
It stated further that all Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) and Ambulance drivers are aware of the rules and that the PHA is “undertaking disciplinary action regarding the incident, and further action may result following the conclusion of an investigation.”
There are two ambulances on Abaco under the PHA’s management, according to a PHA official.
BuzzFeed identified the promgoer as Ashvonn Russell. She told BuzzFeed that her stunt was her entry into a “Best Entrance” contest sponsored by her local Key Club. Saying she liked to “think outside the box,” Russell explained her idea as “Sleeping Beauty with a modern twist.”
According to BuzzFeed she also did say sorry to people who had criticized her for using an ambulance, as opposed to leaving it available for people who may have actually needed it, she added that she “can never apologize for being artistic and creative because that’s what makes me who I am.”
“Always dare to be different,” she concluded.
The photos showed her being taken out of an ambulance in a fancy white dress on a loading stretcher. Then her prom date kisses her and she then “awakens” from her supposed slumber.
One woman called the prom entrance “creative”, while another Facebook user said it was a “slap in the face” after the government has spent millions of dollars on new ambulances.
Pop Culture Editor at the Cosmopolitan, Alex Rees wrote with great admiration on the event’s creativity and concluded:
“No further details on the promgoer in question are yet available, but rest assured we’ll learn more about her during her near-inevitable appearance on The Ellen Show sometime this week or next.”