The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 25 , 2014
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Hospital chaos decoded

- TMH set for patient triage, RIMS can’t afford doctors

Come March, the mad rush will be a thing of the past at Tata Main Hospital’s emergency block.

Over a century old, the TMH in Jamshedpur is all set to become the first heal hub of Jharkhand to introduce triage rooms for patients at its renovated crisis unit.

The term triage — derived from the French word trier meaning sifting — in healthcare refers to categorisation of the sick or wounded when there are insufficient resources for medical care of everyone at once. The system determines patient priority and, thereby, attempts to diminish the rate of mortality.

The method goes back to the days of Napoleon, when triaging large group of wounded soldiers was necessary. Over the centuries, the triage system has evolved into a well-defined priority process.

On an average, the TMH emergency sees a footfall of over 200 every day.

Though the standard triage coding involves five colours (see box), the hospital will use three for three emergency rooms. The red room will be for patients who need immediate attention because they have life-threatening injury or illness. The yellow room will tend to patients who are critical but stable and need observation and medication. And the green room will look after the walking wounded who can be discharged with a prescription.

A source in the medical wing of Tata Steel said the primary reason behind triaging emergency patients was to buffer commotion. “The chaotic crowd troubles patients, doctors and paramedics. Diagnosis and treatment suffer in such situations. The triage method will help doctors and paramedics identify critical patients sooner,” said the source.

Confirming the development, general manager (medical division) G. Ramdas said that triage rooms would be an integral part of the renovated emergency block, which is likely to be completed in March.

“The emergency wing is crammed with patients and their kin all the time. Often, patients outnumber our staff. The triage colour coding will help in better assessment of patient condition and determine who gets attention first. It will also put an end to use of verbal alerts between doctors and paramedics, which gives patients and their relatives anxiety pangs,” said Ramdas.

The new emergency block will also see an increase in the number of counters for admission and discharge of patients, besides a waiting hall. Ramdas did not give the exact date of launch of the renovated unit.

A new ICU and revamped burns unit will, however, be ready for use from March 3. It is likely to be inaugurated by Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry who will visit the city for Founder’s Day celebrations.

Should all government hospitals introduce triaging?