Monday, August 01, 2005

A life lost in vain...

On the night of 29 July 2005 at 11 PM me and my friend were returning from Elliot's Beach, Chennai after a chat with some of my friends.
We were traveling on my bike on the Beasant Avenue that passes through the Theosophical Society when I saw a Road Traffic Accident victim lying in a pool of blood. I parked my vehicle immediately and rushed to make a check. As I proceeded with the ABC of resuscitation it was clear that the person was very much alive though he had sustained a head injury and a part of his brains had spilled on to the road...

A number of good Samaritans joined me... As I monitored his pulse some tried to reach his relatives, some regulated the traffic and some tried to call the emergency numbers on their mobile phones in vain. On a road without Public Calling Booths, none of the emergency numbers were reachable and the recently much publicized 'Apollo Hospitals' Helpline 1066 turned up with an Invalid number response on our mobile phones.

As two of them left for the nearby 'M**** Hospital', at Adyar to fetch an ambulance, I watched helplessly over the dying soul. As the Victim was lying in the middle of the road some of the people wanted to move him to the side, I advised them against doing so saying, the para-medical people would be better prepared to remove the victim without aggravating any possible spine injury.

An Ambulance from the 'M**** Hospital' arrived in a short while, with just two lay-men who were not prepared for dealing with the situation. The Driver and the two men just stood there staring at the victim doing nothing. The crowd got a bit restless and started yelling at them before they started moving and removed the stretcher from the ambulance and assembled it. Shamelessly the two hesitated to even lift the victim, the good samaritans around me finally did the job of lifting the victim on to the stretcher 'to hell with protecting the spine......' As the victim was loaded on to the ambulance his pulse was still going strong normal in rate and rhythm...

I drove to the hospital anger swelling within me at my helplessness and at the hospital. At the hospital the duty doctor checked the victim and declared him dead... Totally dumbfounded I protested, he gave me his stethoscope and connected the victim to the ECG Monitor... The straight line on the monitor and the dilated pupil confirmed the duty doctor's conclusion. The Nurses who should've accompanied the ambulance in the first place,stood there, just watching... I learnt one thing All Nurses aren't Florence Nightingales and Many Nurses are very lazy not only in the government set-up, But also in the private set-up...

As I left for home I felt ashamed of my helplessness and anger towards the corporate medical establishment... I had trouble sleeping that night. In the morning I contacted the hospital and the PRO promised to get back to me with the details of an enquiry. Later in the day, she called back to inform me that, in a Hospital board meeting they had decided henceforth Para-Medical staff would accompany the ambulance anytime for any case A lesson learnt at the price of a life?. AND the two men had hesitated only fearing Medico-legal complications and harassment by the police also because the victim's families sometimes refuse to pay Which is more important Money or a life?

And Apollo Hospitals which has been giving out advertisements even on the FM Radio... It seems the STD code should be pre-fixed before the emergency number when calling from mobile phones. So from Chennai it would be 0441066 for Apollo. Also 112 is the international emergency number for GSM Mobile phones which can be used to contact the local police control room even when your mobile service provider doesn't have a signal in the area But if some other operator has a signal.

Though I realized I couldn't have helped the victim, I've gained a valuable lesson in case of future emergencies....
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