Chronicle of accident trauma, retold

An evening during last Diwali, Sandesh Shekhar, an advertising professional, met with an accident in Vijayanagar. A biker, supposedly under the influence of alcohol, had rammed into Sandesh, leaving the latter badly injured.

Profusely bleeding from his left leg, Sandesh was immediately rushed to a nearby clinic, where he was given first aid. The doctors suggested shifting him to a bigger facility as the wound was severe. But it was not easy moving him hospitals.

To his horror, most of the ambulance drivers were not working as it was a Lakshmi pooja day. He was told that ambulances had been just washed and put on standby to perform customary rituals.

However, his family and friends kept on calling the emergency numbers. After a few calls, a small van arrived but had to be sent back because the 6.4-footer and his broad body frame was too big for the emergency van. Eventually, help came after more than an hour and half.

He was rushed to a private hospital, where he was operated upon below his ankle in his left leg. Doctors who attended to him said they would not have saved his leg had he been brought to the hospital the next morning.

The help of ambulances are chiefly delayed due to traffic snarls and pathetic road conditions in the city. But even on highways the situation seems to be not very different.
“Once when I was on my way to Bengaluru from Bandipur, I saw a terrible accident. The person involved in the accident was dead,” Sandesh recalls. “When I asked the onlookers, they said they had called an ambulance more than 45 minutes back, but the help was yet to arrive.”

Since he is passionate about motorcycling, Sandesh often goes on long distance rides. During several such trips, he had seen many such incidents. “I have seen ambulances, with blazing sirens struggle to get past me, even though I’m riding less than 60kmh speed. When the vehicles are in such sorry condition, how can we expect help at the earliest,” he questions.

Despite these shortcomings, car driver Avinash feels the ambulance services in Karnataka are better than the neighboring states. “About six months back I saw an accident in Hosur, very close to Bengaluru. I learnt from the crowd that had gathered at the spot that the victim was dead and the body was lying on the road for over one hour,” he recalls. “But an ambulance was nowhere in the sight.”

However, he could see a 108 ambulance reaching an accident spot within 20 to 25 minutes here. “Some time back, I was travelling on Shivamogga route and the traffic was jammed for one kilometer as a KSRTC bus had collided with a truck. It was near Kadabagere cross. The 108 ambulance came soon and rushed the victims to the hospital,” he remembers.

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