Hospitals training staff for emergencies; ambulances to be increased to 150

Delhi Health Department officials and hospital administrators are now becoming increasingly optimistic about the Capital having acquired the prowess to deal with any man-made or natural disasters with greater ease and efficiency.

“Delhi has one of the most robust disaster management systems in the country which has been tested and subsequently streamlined to ensure that we are able to provide care in the most effective manner,” says Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. T. S. Sidhu.

“Previously,” he says, “data indicated that 80 per cent of Indians don’t get care within the golden hour. However, things are improving with all the major Delhi hospitals (Central and State-run) conducting emergency-care drills, training staff and stocking up medical equipment/medicines to handle multiple or mass casualties.”

The RML Hospital, which has in the past catered to multi-casualty cases arising out of bomb blasts, building collapses and major fires, is also preparing its staff for handling such situations better.

“Both the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and RML Hospital are conducting the Advance Trauma Life Support programme where out staff (doctors, nurses and other medical support staff) are trained to handle casualty arising out of disasters,” Dr. Sidhu points out.

He added that with the hospital having already handled some cases of multiple casualties, the staff has also learnt a lot from the experiences. “We have had the opportunity to not just stay on our toes because of the repeated drills that the National Disaster Management Authority carries out, but also because our internal managements system keeps us abreast with the short comings in handling cases,” he says.

“From our previous experience,” he adds, “we have learnt that we need to call in only the staff that we really require depending on the patient inflow. Often we have more staff than what is needed at that time which creates a sense of crowd. Also, provision management is an area that the hospital is already working on. RML Hospital can handle 50 to 60 sudden emergency cases simultaneously.”

Delhi Principal Health Secretary Anshu Prakash says the Delhi Government is fully aware of the vulnerability of the Capital to a natural or man-made disaster and is working towards a ‘fighting fit’ disaster management system. “Under the Centralised Accident and Trauma Service we have added more ambulances which are pressed into service as and when there is a need. In Delhi we have increased the ambulance strength from 30 to 101 and it will shortly be increased to 150.”

Mr. Prakash says there are also fully-equipped disaster wards in all the major Delhi Government hospitals which participate in regular drills conducted by the National Disaster Management Authority. “But we understand that there is a need to further strengthen the system to ensure faster response time, and adequate, timely and proper treatment delivery to every individual involved in the manmade or natural disaster.”

The private hospitals too have braced up for dealing with any exigency. Indraprastha Apollo Hospital head of emergency services Dr. Priyadarshini Pal Singh says: “The private hospitals too are required to cooperate with the government in case of a large (multiple/mass) casualty. Our hospital participates in disaster management drills and has in place a protocol to follow in case we are involved in the management of victims involved in a disaster. We have trained staff and medical provisions in place to handle any emergency.”

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