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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

‘Emergency med services are the need of the hour’

Stung By Recent Mishaps, Police Plan To Revive Their Campaign Against Drunk Driving & Come Down Hard On Offenders
Had hours not been lost in admitting Shivani Rawat and her two friends to tertiary hospitals, she would probably be alive today and the others not battling for their lives. After the girls, along with three friends, met with an accident on Juhu Tara Road on Saturday, they were taken by rickety autorickshaws from hospital to hospital before finding proper treatment. While Shivani succumbed to her injuries, Nimisha Mane and Priyanka Rai are comatose. 
    "We urgently need a network of ambulances equipped with paramedics and basic life-saving devices like defibrillator, ECG machine, cardiac monitor, portable ventilator, oxygen cylinder and emergency medicines," says a senior doctor from Sion Hospital's trauma centre. "Paramedics, looking 
at the nature of injury, should decide on the 
level of care the victim should require and take him or her right there. But patients face a situation that is quite the opposite and end up facing refusals from private centres." 
    About four years ago, private hospitals, along with the BMC, were supposed to come up with a plan for emergency medical services that would have a dedicated network of ambulances with the ability to reach any accident spot in the city within 12 minutes. As of now, the plan is still on paper. 
    "Emergency medical services in the city are far from desired," said Dr Sanjay Oak, the director of major hospitals and dean of KEM Hospital. "While smaller centres should stabilize victims before referring them to bigger ones, private hospitals are duty-bound to admit and treat them. Smaller private centres, in particular, have a tendency to divert patients to other places. It is time to set up emergency services and include airlifting facilities." 
    But an expert from a leading private hospital said that emergency medical services are expensive and instituting them requires more than ambulances and hospitals. "It is more about dedicated teams, dedicated centres and expensive medicines. Currently, only two hospitals in Mumbai offer the facility of airlifting patients, but not before Rs 2-3 lakh are deposited. How many people can afford that?" 
The Juhu drunk-driving mishap 
has once again highlighted glaring gaps in Mumbai's emergency medical services. Shivani Rawat, the girl who died, was taken to three hospitals before she succumbed to her injuries. Nimisha Mane and Priyanka Rai, the girls who are comatose, also lost crucial hours before being taken to tertiary hospitals FA L LO U T FO R V I C T I M S 
Head injury worsened because the lack of oxygen flow to the brain could not be addressed in time Delay in ventilation led to a drop in oxygen levels in the body; complete stop in oxygen supply is known to cause death in less than four minutes Blood loss led to a drop in fluid levels in the body Collapsed lung, or pneumothorax (the collection of air in the space around the lungs, hampering their function), led to a 50% drop


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