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Watch how you transport accident victims to hospital

M. Dinesh Varma

If not done properly, it could lead to more trauma or even death

  • Checking the airway (A) for blockages
  • Assessing breathing (B)
  • Circulation (C) of blood

    CHENNAI: : Do you know that your noble intention of helping to transport an accident victim to a nearby hospital could, if not done properly, actually lead to more trauma, sometimes even death ?For instance, if the patient (particularly the chest injured) is not transported in a facedown posture, he could have potentially fatal airway obstruction. Or, if a broken bone is not bandaged properly it could pierce and rupture an blood vessel.

    And, flexion of a patient's injured spine during transport is sure to make matters worse by the time of reaching hospital.

    "We believe that at least 50 per cent of road traffic accident-related morbidity and mortality can be avoided if there is better public awareness on trauma," said Amarnath Sowlee, Secretary, Madras Orthopaedic Association (MOA).

    Nation-wide, road accidents claim an estimated one lakh lives every year, while five times that number are disabled by varying degrees.


    The MOA has planned several measures to create public awareness on pre-hospital trauma management. On Sunday, it will take out a rally in connection with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the All India Orthopaedic Association.

    The rally with an expected attendance of 1,000 volunteers will begin at Gandhi Statue and conclude on the Marina. A demonstration on the "do's and don'ts" of transporting trauma victims will be held for the benefit of school and college students. CDs on the topic will also be distributed on the occasion.

    Speaker K. Kalimuthu will flag off the rally, which will comprise orthopaedicians, medical faculty members and students from various colleges. Besides the former cricketer, K. Srikkanth, a few film stars have evinced interest in the rally.

    Similar rallies to educate citizens on helping victims of road traffic accidents will be held simultaneously in State capitals across the country.

    The `ABCs'

    The aim of the rallies is to highlight the importance of early and proper first aid and safe transportation. The `ABCs' of trauma management are avoiding obstruction of airway, assessing for breathing problems and maintaining blood circulation. The campaign aims to generate a resource base of first responders when an accident occurs who are equipped with limited but vital skills to effectively manage a patient till he reaches the hospital casualty.


    According to Dr. Sowlee, the MOA is in discussion with the Commissioner of Police, R. Nataraj, on establishing fully equipped ambulances, specifically for transporting accident victims to the nearest hospital. These ambulances, which would have oxygen cylinders, plasma expanders (which increase fluid volume to offset blood loss) and suction apparatus to maintain potent airway, would be stationed at vantage points in the city.

    The MOA has also agreed to educate traffic police personnel on the issue.

    Orthopaedicians will also visit schools and colleges to sensitise the youngsters on the do's and don'ts to be followed in the golden hour during physical training sessions.

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