G.V.R. Subba Rao

`Sense of social responsibility can help save lives'

  • EMRI receives 20 calls a day on average
  • 16 more ambulances to be added to the existing fleet

    VIJAYAWADA: A sense of social responsibility and awareness of the need for emergency medical care can save many lives, say emergency care pundits. And it proved to be correct on Sunday night.

    SOS messages

    The `108' ambulance reached an accident spot at Patamata in just 12 minutes. More than six good Samaritans rang up the number for emergency help, making it evident that the awareness of emergency medical care is on the rise.

    It all happened at 10.42 p.m. when a speeding motorcycle from Autonagar to NTR Circle hit 75-year-old Eswara Rao, who was crossing the busy Bandar Road near Sweet Magic Restaurant.

    Rao hesitantly moved back and forth to reach the other side of the road, in an attempt to escape from the vehicles whizzing past him.

    He fell flat on the road when the two-wheeler hit him and lay there for a while unable to speak anything. Good Samaritans came to his rescue and an SOS was sent to 108 at 10.46 p.m., and the ambulance reached the accident spot by 10. 58 p.m. He recovered from the shock by the time the ambulance came to his rescue and provided him the required first aid.

    Response time

    Still, a question remained unanswered: Was 12 minutes too long for the ambulance parked at Benz Circle to reach the accident spot?

    A couple of traffic police constables, who were on patrol duty at that time, reached the spot soon but left within no time on learning that the old man was out of danger.

    By then, the traffic had already jammed.

    J.V.S. Sastry, regional coordinator of the Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI), which runs the 108 services, said on Monday that the ambulance arrived at the spot in the "shortest possible time", if traffic constraints were taken into consideration.

    "Even in the most advanced countries, it takes about 30 minutes for an ambulance to reach an accident spot," he said.

    Mr. Sastry was confident that the time for the ambulance to reach the spot would come down still further once 16 more ambulances were added to the existing fleet.

    These new ambulances would be pressed into service in rural areas of the district.

    In a way, it would reduce the pressure on the existing vehicles based in the city, which were catering to the surrounding rural areas, he explained.

    Mr. Sastry said that the average number of calls attended by each vehicle was only eight in a day at present, and they were striving to take this to at least 16 a day.

    At present, the EMRI was receiving 20 calls a day on an average for emergency medical support.