The city may well be the road accident capital of the country going by the emergency calls made to the 108 ambulance service.
The city’s utilisation of 108 has been increasing but emergency care managers say the ambulances were mostly sought for accident cases as against pregnancies and other emergencies like chest pain.
On an average, 108 caters to 3,500 emergencies a month in the city. The number of cases has increased from last year — in April 2012, 108 handled 2,299 cases, whereas, this July, the number of cases stood at 3,776.
“When we look at the State figures for utilisation of 108 ambulances in the city, nearly 26 per cent of cases are pregnancy-related emergencies followed by road traffic accidents at 24 per cent. In Chennai, 25 per cent cases comprise accidents and just 10 per cent are pregnancies. Other emergencies such as chest pain and acute abdominal pain are single digit contributors to the overall utilisation percentage,” said B. Prabhudoss, regional manager of GVK-Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI).
People should understand they can use 108 for any kind of trauma and medical emergency including respiratory problems, oral poisoning, and insect, snake and animal bites, he said.
The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project is the nodal agency that sponsors the 108 emergency response service along with GVK-EMRI, which is a private partner. There are 629 ambulances in the State, of which 35 operate in the city. “The ambulances are fully equipped with medicines, equipment and oxygen. It is available free of cost to patients. They can choose the hospital they want to go to. In an emergency situation, it should be the nearest medical facility,” he said.
V. Kanagasabai, dean of Government General Hospital, said more than 60 per cent of cases brought to the GH were of trauma. “Two-wheeler accidents constitute a major share,” he said.