How a Mangaluru helpline saved the life of Neyveli heart patient

Helpline comes as a godsend for doctors in need of expert advice

A helpline started by an interventional cardiologist in Mangaluru about three months ago to offer guidance on cardiac cases through WhatsApp helped a doctor in Neyveli in Tamil Nadu save a life three days ago.

The cardiologist Padmanabh Kamath opened the helpline (9743287599) in mid-July. Since then doctors working in rural, semi-urban areas with basic qualification, medical students, and people in general have been seeking his guidance, second opinion on cardiac cases. They post ECG and other reports on the WhatsApp number seeking expert guidance.

Dr. Kamath told The Hindu on Thursday that when he reached home at 3.30 a.m. on October 21 after performing an angioplasty and was about to go to sleep he got a message.

It was from Dr. Karthikeyan, a resident doctor at NLC General Hospital in Nyveli. The doctor in the public sector hospital had sent an ECG report to Dr. Kamath for expert opinion. “The patient had suffered a heart attack and the doctor wanted someone to guide him in management of the case,” Dr. Kamath said.

“I read the ECG and responded to that at 3.45 a.m. Dr. Karthikeyan acted on our advice and the patient was shifted to a higher centre within minutes after first aid,” he said. “The patient was shifted to a tertiary centre in Puducherry and underwent a rescue procedure and is now out of danger,” Dr. Kamath added.

Dr. Kathikeyan, who has an MBBS degree, told The Hindu over phone that Dr. Kamath’s advice was of great help as he wanted a clarification on the ECG report from the latter. “The helpline is really helping doctors, especially those in rural and semi-urban areas, seek expert opinion,” Dr. Kathikeyan said.

Dr. Kamath said he gets between 15 and 20 queries on the helpline daily. “So far, there have been about 2,000 queries,” he said, adding that the helpline showed how it addressed the non-availability of experts in the wee hours in a rural area. Dr. Kamath, however, clarified that the helpline was not a substitute to a doctor’s examination. “This is not a substitute, but only a supplement.”

In addition to the helpline, Dr. Kamath operates three WhatsApp groups of doctors in Karnataka for sharing knowledge and guidance. The groups have 920 doctor-members. The groups are called CAD (cardiology at doorstep).

“The helpline and the WhatsApp groups are for connecting hearts and connecting lives,” Dr. Kamath said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 4:06:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/connecting-hearts-from-mangaluru-to-neyveli/article29790905.ece

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