Life stuck in melee: Sewa bharati Ambulances save Lives

Source: TOI
CHANDIGARH: A city that boasts of best services in education and hospitals is still not equipped to ensure emergency transportation and rescue within an hour of an accident. This period right after a mishap is also known as the golden hour because of the value it has for a victim's life. In all, 31% of the fatal accidents in past five years in the city have occurred due to loss of this precious time.

Data of autopsies in the past five years conducted at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, show that out of 784 cases of fatal accidents from 2006 to 2010, 246 people were brought dead after the golden hour to hospitals.


Also, 70% of the deceased were between the ages of 16-40 years. Red Cross and an NGO, Sewa Bharti, operate ambulances in the city. Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16, has its own fleet of nine such vehicles. But remarkably, there is shortage of drivers. UT's director (health services) Dr Chander Mohan said, 'We are in the process of recruiting staff for the ambulance. Drivers are not available for 24 hours. Also, the city is not so big that there has to be a large fleet. We are running a helpline number.'

On average the PGI alone gets 30 head injury patients daily and many of those are worsened by mishandling.

'These patients come to hospital in any vehicle they can get. There is no paramedical staff with them. Even police are not able to handle the injuries well. Lifting a injured person is not something that should be done without proper care or training. It takes expertise,'' said Dr Rajesh Chhabra, a neurosurgeon at PGI.

The data was compiled by Dr Dasari Harish of department of forensic medicine in GMCH-32. He said, 'The cause of the death in 61% cases was head injury, which needs instant attention. Within a period of 24 hours, 66% were brought dead in these road side accidents.'
n Chandigarh's area of 114 sq km there are around 25 ambulances which can ply within the city, but not more than four or five are available at any given time due to the paucity of drivers. These ambulances are seldom equipped with ventilators, defibrillator or paramedical staff. Two years ago, Sumit Prakash Verma, 32, died after the vehicle carrying him could not enter the emergency area of the PGIMER as it was blocked due to the PM's security's. However, nothing has been done to overcome this problem. 'The ambulances are not stationed according to sectors and by the time they reach, it gets difficult to save lives. They should be located in a grid like CTU buses,' said Dr Chhabra.

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