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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Hello, trauma helpline' Trouble at science hub

Bangalore, Jan. 2: Seconds after Wednesday’s attack on an Indian Institute of Science conference, a woman had gathered the courage to pick herself up and call 1062. It may have saved the lives of the three persons seriously injured along with IIT Delhi professor M.C. Puri.

The number is the helpline of Comprehensive Trauma Consortium (CTC), which provides immediate medical aid in emergencies.

As soon as it received the call, the CTC control room mobilised its ambulances and sent six of them from various locations to the J.N. Tata auditorium, opposite the IISc, where an attacker had just sprayed bullets from an automatic rifle.

As all CTC ambulances are equipped with global positioning system (GPS) kits, the control room tracked them as they weaved their way through thick peak-hour traffic towards C.V. Raman Avenue, where the auditorium is situated.

The CTC control room also called the police control room and asked that the way be cleared.

The traffic police reacted immediately, and the first ambulance reached the scene within 10 minutes, quickly followed by the others.

Trained paramedics jumped off the ambulances, quickly administered first aid and decided to send two of the victims to Mallige Nursing Home and another to M.S. Ramaiah hospital.

Thanks to the prompt action, the injured, including Vijay Chandru of Simputer fame, could immediately receive treatment that was probably life-saving.

Puri, his liver and intestines punctured, had already been shifted by the police in a private vehicle to M.S. Ramaiah. He died there later, becoming the attack’s lone casualty.

Dialling CTC during emergencies is not new to Bangaloreans; even traffic police ask for its ambulances over the wireless.

“CTC was basically set up to save accident victims. We pick them up within the golden hour, the first hour when the life of a victim can be saved if transported to a hospital,” said Dr Venkataramana, its founder-trustee and a neurosurgeon with the city’s Manipal Hospital.

“Now we have expanded the scope of what we can handle and equipped ambulances with a first-aid kit, suction apparatus, oxygen, defibrillator, ventilator and a trained paramedic. You can now call 1062 for any medical emergency, not just accidents.’’

A wholly voluntary organisation and a free service, CTC was started in March 2000 and has undertaken 10,000 rescues.

“After CTC came into being, the rate of patients being declared ‘dead on arrival’ has gone down drastically from a high of 32 per cent (including 10 per cent in transit) to just 3 per cent,” the doctor said.

“It’s an absolutely free service where even the hospital provides free initial treatment. In fact, about 9 per cent of victims picked up have no proof of identity on them as they would have been assaulted and robbed. Now our mission is to reach victims to hospital within 10 minutes.”

Christened “Operation Sanjeevani”, CTC’s network now boasts 25 member hospitals and 32 ambulances, some of which are stationed at accident-prone zones on the city’s Outer Ring Road.

The service is also expanding outside the city. The Bangalore-Mysore and Bangalore-Tirupati highways, both known for high accident rates, have been covered, though the service on the Tirupati-Bangalore highway has not yet been officially launched. Another network is in place in Dakshina Kannada (Mangalore) district.

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