Three months ago, A. Janaki found herself trying to save an assault victim near Udhayam theatre in K.K. Nagar.
“The young man’s jugular vein had been cut. There were many people on the road watching me, as I applied a dressing pad. He had lost lot of blood, but not one of them helped lift him into the ambulance. A month after the incident, when I was at a hospital, a man fell at my feet. It was the victim, thanking me for saving his life,” said Janaki, an emergency medical technician, with the EMRI 108 ambulance system.
Young women emergency medical technicians like her are the backbone of the trauma care team in the State. Mostly in their 20s, they are trained to save lives, often with little help.
The women sometimes have to traverse difficult terrains without access to mobile networks. M. Anusuya, another technician, who had to get to a family that had been attacked in Erumaipatti in Pachamalai, Tiruchi district, had to walk 3 km to reach them.
But the villagers helped shift the victims. “There are 75 villages there, and only 25 can be accessed by vehicle. There are no mobile phone towers there, but a boy from the hills took us to where the family was. Of the four victims, two could not walk. We made slings to carry them and asked those who could, to walk to the ambulance. It took us five hours to shift the family to the hospital,” she recalled.
When a life is saved, it makes them immensely happy, but they have also learned to take deaths in their stride. M. Sathyapriya, stationed in Salem tried her best to save a group of seven victims of an accident in Karipatti. near Athur taluka. A vehicle carrying a nine-member marriage party had rammed a lorry. By the time the injured arrived at the hospital, one of them who was gasping for breath, while being rescued died.
Caring for a victim is tough, the women acknowledge. “If they are drunk or have suffered a serious injury, in the head or the limbs they turn violent. They pull out IV lines or their oxygen masks,” It is better if there is an attendant with them,” says D. Vidhya.
Training helps, however. “In such situations, since we have been rigorously trained, I automatically know the right thing to do,” she adds.