Training on handling emergencies would bring down mortality in children was the message that speakers conveyed at the inauguration of the third National Assembly on Paediatric Emergency Medicine held here on Saturday.

Paediatricians who addressed medical students and practitioners emphasised the need to be equipped to handle emergencies instead of merely shifting a very sick child to a hospital.

When confronted with an emergency, a patient should not be expected to travel, said N. Janakiraman, who is credited with starting the Paediatric Advanced Life Support course in India. Instead, doctors should be equipped to stabilise the patient by organising an emergency response system within a radius of 500 m, and then arrange for transport.

The course was introduced in Indian hospitals in 1991. Lauding the progress made in reducing the mortality rate, he urged universities to train medical students in basic emergency care.

Need for preparedness

Suresh S. David, head of Accident and Emergency, CMC, Vellore, said many patients who were wheeled into the emergency room or the casualty, often died for want of knowledge and organisation. His survey of students who underwent an intensive training in emergency medicine found that students enjoyed team work, hands-on training and “saving lives”. Calling for developing an efficient emergency department in hospitals, Dr. David said, “Incompetent staffing, poor networking and lack of sharing knowledge are the pitfalls of the existing system. Students remain unprepared for the real world situations.”

Sunil Singhi, head of Paediatric Emergency and Intensive Care, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, called for standards and guidelines for emergency care treatment. “Knowledge of emergency medical care is all the more important for doctors working in rural areas and those practising on their own. Doctors in government institutions should influence the decision of the government in establishing protocols and organising training programmes,” Dr. Singhi said.

Organising committee Chairperson Indumathy Santhanam and secretary S. Thangavelu spoke. The two-day event is being organised jointly by the Institute of Child Health, Kanchi Kamakoti CHILDS Trust, paediatric wing of Apollo Hospitals and Mehta hospital.

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