Making the most of the golden hour

To save an accident victim’s life, treatment within the golden hour is critical. But this can happen in increasing numbers only with improved coordination between hospitals and ambulance services operating in the City, say doctors.

Medical practitioners talk about a code system for various emergencies in hospitals. The codes, understood by both the hospital staff and paramedics, are what makes the process seamless in an efficient system and ensure quick help to the victims. How does this system work? On Thursday, a 26-year-old patient was rushed to Hosmat Hospital in Bengaluru with a vascular injury in the thigh. Immediate attention was what the patient needed. Thanks to ‘code blue’, the patient was attended to with no delay. As Dr Ajith Royan, medical director, Hosmat Hospitals informs, the patient is now stable and recovering in the Intensive Care Unit.

Here’s how the process behind it worked, as explained by Dr Royan: “We use ‘code blue’ in our hospital to alert the staff that there has been an emergency case. This helps grab the attention of the specialists who can attend to the patient with no further delay. Besides codes, it would certainly be helpful if the hospital and ambulance services improve their communication.”

Technology has made this connection better in the last 20 years. But it could improve with use of GPS devices in ambulances that could be tracked from a hospital with help from the traffic police.

In the words of Dr Harshitha Sridhar, MD-Accident & Emergency Medicine, Vikram Hospital, informing the hospitals well in advance could save precious time. “Say for instance, in case a patient comes with a stroke, if the hospital can also be prepared to attend to the case, a lot of damage could be prevented. This will help us start the medication immediately on receiving the patient. Besides, facilities for CT Scans and MRI Rooms could also be kept vacant,” she notes. 

Dr Harshitha says that the same condition would apply even in case of an accident. “Blood availability can be checked and arranged for if need be. Drugs and the operation theatre could be kept ready by the time the patient reaches the hospital. This can happen provided the paramedic in the ambulance is able to communicate with the hospital, constantly updating about the patient’s condition,” explains the doctor.
On September 16, last year, a 44-year-old businessman from Ahmedabad, Bipin Rathi met with an accident in Cantonment Railway Station. He fell off a moving train at 10.30 pm. But he had to wait for an hour before ambulance help arrived. 

Rathi recalls the trauma of that day: “No one came to my help even though I was bleeding profusely. Neither did the ambulance reach the spot nor did the railway station have any medical officers to attend to me at the moment. There is definitely a need to improve emergency care.”

He had to wait for a relative to come and shift him to Vikram hospital in the city. “I was lying on the platform for more than an hour, while people shot videos and clicked photographs.”

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