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Updated: October 7, 2012 08:19 IST

Bandh keeps away patients from hospitals

Special Correspondent
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The number of emergency calls made to Arogya Kavacha 108 ambulance service witnessed a spike. Photo: K. Gopinathan
The Hindu The number of emergency calls made to Arogya Kavacha 108 ambulance service witnessed a spike. Photo: K. Gopinathan

Emergency calls to 108 ambulance service sees a spike

Saturday’s bandh kept patients away from hospitals. Although most staff, including doctors and paramedics, made it to work, patient flow was less than five per cent, doctors said.

Most surgeries, except emergency procedures, were put off in several hospitals. At Vani Vilas, where usually more than 50 deliveries are conducted every day, only 19 babies were born as of evening. “We are expecting more cases later in the evening,” medical superintendent Some Gowda said.

Ambulances were put to best use by the hospital heads. Almost all hospitals arranged for pickup and drop of staff but doctors generally didn’t have much to do.

Very few outpatients

Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute dean O.S. Siddappa said the outpatient departments in all the four affiliated hospitals (Bowring, Victoria, Vani Vilas and Minto) reported less than five per cent of the average patient flow. “We had made arrangements for transport and food of our staff to ensure services are not affected. But there were hardly any patients,” he said.

In K.C. General Hospital, only three patients were seen in the casualty till evening. “Hardly 80 outpatients visited the hospital today as against more than 700 on normal days,” said medial superintendent R.L. Chandraprabha.

Emergency calls

Meanwhile, the number of emergency calls made to Arogya Kavacha 108 ambulance service witnessed a spike. “We received 1,800 calls on Saturday, of which 1,275 emergency calls were attended from midnight of October 5 till late afternoon on October 6. This is as against the average 957 in the same duration on Friday,” said S.S. Pervez, head (quality and marketing) at GVK EMRI that runs the service.

“Lack of public transport and fear of using their own vehicles might have forced people to call the ambulance service. As the roads were deserted, the patients could be ferried fast,” he said.

Medical stores closed

While all the medical stores in the districts of Mandya, Hassan, Chamarajanagar and Mysore remained closed, the service was partially affected in Bangalore too.

“However, this did not create a major problem for patients as most had stocked their medicines. For emergencies, people used the drug counters in hospitals and nursing homes that were open,” said Karnataka State Pharmacy Council president D.A. Gundu Rao.

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