First instinct is to call 100, not all know about 102

First instinct is to call 100, not all know about 102

First instinct is to call 100, not all know about 102

Shabnam’s father suffered what appeared to be a stroke on Thursday. He has survived a heart attack before and the family feared for the worst this time. As everyone started panicking, her mother Kariman went outside their house in Bhajanpura in northeast Delhi in search of an autorickshaw.

After she got an auto after 10 minutes, Ahmad Khan was shifted to Lok Nayak Hospital. The family does not know yet if Khan, who is now recovering, suffered a heart attack or fainted due to some other reason. 

But even in the moment when they thought the worst has happened, they did not think about calling a government ambulance and decided it would be quicker to take Khan in antorickshaw – rather than “wait” for the ambulance.

“It did not strike me that we should call the ambulance. Everyone thought that an auto is the best mode of transport. We did not trust the ambulance to come on time,”
says Kariman.

Her distrust stems from experience.

“We had to shift one of the relatives some years ago to the hospital and the ambulance was late. It was natural for people to call for an auto than to wait for the ambulance,” says daughter Shabnam.

While many do not trust government ambulances, there are others who are simply clueless about the 102 toll-free number to call in case of a medical emergency.

Chandan Singh’s wife fell from the stairs on Wednesday and like Khan’s family, they too brought her in an autorickshaw to a government hospital from Noida. While it was distrust in the first case, here it was lack of knowledge about the ambulance service.

“We don’t know about the number. We only know 100 (toll-free number for police). When she fell from the stairs, we just held her and rushed to the hospital in an auto,” Singh says.

The government has failed to advertise the dedicated number for calling an ambulance and a strong advertisement campaign is needed.

Due to lack of knowledge, in most cases of road accident, it is police who are burdened with the responsibility of taking the victim to hospital. The first number that comes to everyone’s minds is 100.

As police take the victims in their vans, which are not equipped to give urgent medical attention, sometimes the “golden hour” important in saving lives, is lost.
In severe road accident cases, sometimes even police is not prepared to handle the
situation.

On Tuesday, a bus hit a van on Outer Ring Road at Darya Ganj. The van was carrying a family to an engagement function. So severe was the collision that police could not take the family members out of the van, and had to call for equipment to cut open its door.
Experts suggest that since police are most the first ones to receive a call in cases of road accident, the police control room vans should have such tools available with them. Otherwise crucial time is lost.

Many people also narrate tales of police apathy towards victims of road accidents and their families.

An example: P Suresh and Swamy died allegedly on the spot after a road accident at 2.15 am on April 14 but the family was informed by police only the next morning at 9 am. The two, along with their third friend M Senthil, were returning home on their motorcycle after a late night movie show.

While Swamy and Suresh were declared brought dead, Senthil succumbed to his injuries the next morning.

“My son was breathing but they didn’t call me until he died. May be they could have been saved. But we will never know,” says Senthil’s mother.

“We have no idea about what happened that day. How long were they on the road and who took them to the hospital? We just came to know in the morning that they are no more,” said Suresh’s sister.

The families of the three victims allege that so far police has not given them much details of the accident.

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