Ambulance service to go hi-tech in Bangalore

September 7th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Sep 7 (IANS) Come November, ambulance services in India’s silicon hub will go high-tech to treat trauma patients and mishap victims.Pioneered by the Hyderabad-based non-profit organisation Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) on a public-private partnership (PPP) model, the free service will be a phone-cal away on toll-free number 108.

The institute, set up and funded by Satyam Computers founders, the Raju brothers, entered into an agreement with the state government last month for the emergency health service.

“The Karnataka government will finance the ambulance service, including 95 percent of the operational cost,” EMRI consultant J. Narasimha Rao told IANS.

“We will manage the emergency response centre (EMC) where calls on a patient are recorded, and provide medical inputs and manpower to operate the service.”

The institute will initially deploy 150 ambulances across the state and scale this up by 367 over the next two years, finally taking the total mobile clinics to 517.

“Experts from the institute and the state health department are working on modalities to identify vulnerable areas, where ambulances will be required most,” Rao said.

Each ambulance will cover about 25km radius so as to reach patients within 15-20 minutes after a call is registered at the emergency response centre (EMC).

Physicians at EMC will give pre-arrival advice to the attendant of patients, before ambulances reach the spot. Each ambulance will be manned by two trained emergency medical technicians for attending patients or accident victims.

The ambulance service is unique as it is not a transport vehicle for patients; rather, these are like pre-hospital care centre, with facilities for attending to the needs of those accompanying a patient to the hospital.

“Our ambulance service works on the concept of ‘golden hour’, the critical period when a serious patient or mishap victim has to be treated within an hour of the incident to ensure that his or her survival chances are over 80 percent,” he said.

The high-tech ambulances will be equipped with stretches, wheel-chairs, ventilators, oxygen cylinders and defibrillators. Drivers will be trained to deal with emergency cases along with paramedics.

“The ambulances will also have rescue tools to conduct emergency operations,” he added.

EMRI has also tied up with state-run-hospitals to attend to patients brought by their ambulances.

“We are also in discussions with private hospitals and clinics to admit patients brought by our ambulances and provide medical care for next 24 hours free-of-cost. Patients and the hospitals will decide on the course of treatment,” Rao observed.

In Karnataka, the state-run government and private hospitals operate ambulance services but not in a scientific manner. As a result, casualties are high for want of immediate medical attention.

A state health official said there is no data on the number of ambulances operating in the state.

“We hope full-fledged ambulances in and around Bangalore will save a lot of lives. The ambulances will match international standards in medical practice,” Rao added.

As an integrated emergency service provider, EMRI ambulances operate in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarkhand. Karnataka will be the fourth state to avail the service.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, American Academy of Emergency Medicine in India, National Emergency Number Association and Richmond Ambulance Authority collaborate with EMRI in providing this service.

“EMRI service will be able to save many lives, as several hospitals in the city do not have such a coordinated ambulance facility,” a state health official said.

EMRI attends 13,000 calls a day on average. It has saved about 4,000 lives and attended over 60,000 emergency calls since the service was launched first in 2005 from Hyderabad.

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