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By BY AMIT UKIL in Calcutta
  • Published 1.12.01
Calcutta, Dec. 1 :    Calcutta, Dec. 1:  The first constructive step has finally been taken to set up a system where Calcutta's road accident victims have a better chance of survival. Several city-based organisations, including Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan, Missionaries of Charity, Rotary and Goodwill Mission, have responded favourably to the setting up of an Emergency Medical Service Council that would coordinate trauma-care delivery and management in road accidents in Calcutta and suburbs. The Telegraph had reported last week that representatives of the Association of American Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) and a member of the Nobel Prize-winning organisation, Doctors Without Borders, would be meeting like-minded people at the initiative of the city branch of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine. The purpose was to float the idea of an emergency medical council, on the lines of the ones set up recently in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. It will set up trauma centres, coordinate ambulance and hospital services and arrange for installation of essential equipment required once a victim is rushed to hospital. Training in trauma care will also be imparted. About 30 individuals turned up, and all agreed that an organised system, along with designated trauma-care centres at existing hospitals, was a crying need. "We read in the newspapers that accident victims are being brought dead or are dying at hospitals because there is no mechanism and equipment for urgent specialised treatment," said Dr Saurav Kole, Calcutta branch secretary of the critical care society. Once the council is set up, the first step would be to "organise the 265 ambulances that operate in the city so they have the necessary equipment like oxygen, volume (blood) loss replacement kits, splints, and communication with hospitals in their designated zones," he said. The initiative was given impetus by Dr Bharati Ghosh, a paediatrician based in California. At a meeting of AAPI about 18 months ago in Los Angeles, eminent trauma-care interventionist Dr M.S. Bala had stressed that road deaths were among the highest in Indian cities. He suggested that AAPI, of which he is chairman of the trauma sub-committee, help out. But eastern India did not figure in his proposal. Dr Ghosh pointed out that a need existed in Calcutta as well. She was asked to take the initiative. Dr Bala requested a colleague of his, Dr Peter Meade, director of the surgical intensive care unit at the Martin Luther King Jr Medical Centre, to accompany him on his mission to India. Meade is also a member of Doctors Without Borders. The movement is receiving a good response from key Calcutta organisations. "Subroto Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Mission hospital, Sister Andrea of the Missionaries of Charity, Mr Chandra Mohan of Rotary, among others, have agreed to help out," Kole said. The government, police and the municipal authorities will have a major role in the council.