On Tuesday, the city’s emergency medical technicians will be honoured

For D. Chandrasekar, an emergency medical technician (EMT) with the 108 ambulance, the sound of an ambulance siren has been his mobile ringtone for a long time.

As his phone rings, signalling a medical emergency, Chandrasekar rushes out of a room, all set to attend to a person in medical distress. He is one among the 80-odd EMTs of the GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) in Chennai.

On Tuesday, EMRI celebrates EMT Day to honour and encourage the work of EMTs, with the focus now on enhancing the quality of care.

“I have been here for the last four years and attend to a minimum of four cases per day. I have handled different kinds of cases including poisoning, road traffic accidents and labour. It was only for the first six months that I found it difficult preparing for the cases but there was no looking back since then,” he said.

Handling newborn emergencies might be a challenging task but for 22-year-old C. Sathya, a neonatal EMT, the job has been a rewarding experience. “Mothers are emotional and tensed and we make them understand that their newborns will be given the best care possible in the ambulance,” she said.

Inside the ambulance, she has the task of keeping the newborns, especially pre-term babies, warm. “If the baby has respiratory distress, we should give oxygen supply. In case of low sugar levels, we give them IV fluids,” she said. Sathya, who has completed a diploma in Nursing, has seen several pre-term low birth weight babies weighing 700 grams and 850 grams.

There are a total of 1,300 EMTs across the State, with 335 of them being women. Chennai city has about 30 ambulances and three dedicated neonatal ambulances, while greater Chennai has 10 to 15 ambulances, B. Prabhudoss, regional manager of GVK EMRI said.

EMTs take charge of the platinum 10 minutes of a patient by doing one-minute assessment, five minutes of resuscitation, if required, and four minutes of immobilisation.

Inside the ambulance, the EMT takes care of ABC (Airway, Breathing and Circulation) and gets in touch with an Emergency Response Centre physician for online medical directions.

 “Now, the EMTs are undergoing training in the Global Certification Programme which is on basic life support, advanced life support, international trauma life support and basic life support for obstetrics. By the end of the next two months, all EMTs will be globally certified,” Mr. Prabhudoss said.