Hardly 5% accident victims reach right hospital within 8 min in Karnataka

Hardly 5% accident victims reach right hospital within 8 min in Karnataka
Less than 5% of trauma patients reach the right hospital within eight minutes in Karnataka, says a study by the Indian Institute of Health Management and Research (IIHMR).

Eight minutes is the global standard response time to take any patient with a medical emergency to a facility where they can get treatment. The study ‘Assessment of Emergency Health Services including Geospatial Analysis in Karnataka’ was funded by the state government’s Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust. It surveyed 1,583 healthcare facilities, including 375 government and 1,208 private ones.

Speaking to DH, Dr Biranchi Narayan Jena, director, IIHMR, said, “This leaves us with a lot of scope for improvement.”  The study found that only about 20% patients reached ‘appropriate’ hospitals after eight minutes and had scope for improvement. For 10-12% patients, even as they were taken to a medical facility within the prescribed time, these hospitals did not have the facilities to treat them.

In several cases, the ‘108’ ambulance could not reach the hospital in time due to traffic snarls.  However, it was found that in a majority of the cases, hospitals that these patients were taken to denied them treatment for want of specialists or infrastructure.

The institute has written to the state regarding a set of reforms that can be introduced. Better services by the ‘108’ Arogya Kavacha is one of them. “Directing the patient to the right hospital can save lives,” Jena said.

Crucial data missing

Even as the National Crime Records Bureau has statistics of road accidents, crucial data is missing, said Jena.  “The details of previous FIRs also need to be compiled and reporting has to improve,” he suggested.

The study has recommended that infrastructure and manpower in at least 50% of the cases be improved to attend to emergency cases, especially in rural areas. Dr H Sudarshan Ballal, medical director, Manipal Hospitals, said, “Dozens of patients are outside hospitals within 200 yards distance, but are unable to get in due to traffic.  We lost a patient in a similar case where he was almost at the gate of the hospital but could not get in. There is a need to improve emergency medical services and introduce more ICU ambulances.”

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