Lost in rush hour

Between the lanes

Lost in rush hour

Every passing second counts - healthcare emergency is all about that. In this traffic-gridlocked city, many a life is lost as an accident victim or a person who has suffered heart attack is perhaps too late to be brought to the hospital or not given the necessary first aid till help comes. The question is how prepared is the city in responding to medical emergency?

It is indeed a daily sight to see ambulances stuck in traffic during peak times and being denied the right of way. Less said the better about vehicles tailgating the ambulance. “I’m afraid that Bengaluru traffic is quite unruly. We could do something to create awareness campaigns on giving the right of way to ambulances. Sometimes the vehicle tailgating the ambulance hits the ambulance if it suddenly stops. It so happened that once we had to carry the person in the vehicle tailgating in the same ambulance,” narrates Dr Shailesh Shetty, senior specialist, emergency medicine, Aster CMI Hospital.

The layman is most often unaware on how to handle emergency. “In such a case, move the victim or patient to a safe place and make sure the person who is helping is also in a safe place,” he says.

“Then make sure to contact the nearest hospital. 108 service is easily accessible. Someone who knows a little more can call the helpline,” he says.
VMEDO, a startup, has been doing its bit for emergency healthcare some time now. They have a network of ambulance providers, hospitals, blood donors, blood banks and all these are accessible on a single platform which includes, app, web and helpline.

“People can reach out to its control room by clicking of a button on the web or app or by calling their helpline number (67335555),” says Darshan MK, cofounder of this startup.
“There are more than 3,000 private ambulances in the city and we found 108 one to be really good, be it its technology and the call centre. We then started our own technology and built a team for the technology. We now have 144 ambulances which are GPS enabled.”

Ask him about the hurdles and he says, “The ambulance gets delayed 80 to 85 per cent of the time because of the traffic. Also, sometimes they are stopped by the cops and the details of the patient are asked.” They are now planning to get first responders, who know how to give first aid during emergency.

“Emergency services are an integral part of healthcare,” says Dr Sudarshan Ballal, director of Manipal Hospitals.

“The first thing is providing care at the point where the emergency has happened, be it an accident, a heart attack or a stroke. We need trained people in the general public, those who are familiar with resuscitation,” he says.

“The second is the transport service, which is a major issue in a city like Bengaluru. It is good to have ambulances with ICU facilities parked in different locations. The third aspect is movement of patients. Many ambulances have emergency ICU care which are directly connected to ER services, where monitoring is done from the main station. The last point is when the patient reaches the hospital and care is given,” he says.

Teaching traffic cops skills to provide emergency aid to accident victims has been a welcome step in this regard. “We had trained around 800 people in basic providing basic life support,” says Dr Shailesh.

“They were trained to do compressions till somebody advanced came around. However it will bear fruit only if they can do it real time. I feel it should be mandatory that every citizen is trained in giving Basic Life Support,” he says.

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