‘Life on wheels’ to the rescue of the needy in Malnad areas

The ambulance, to be commissioned in mid-February, will be stationed at Kaveri Memorial Charitable Hospital at Kalasa.

The ambulance, to be commissioned in mid-February, will be stationed at Kaveri Memorial Charitable Hospital at Kalasa.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Ambulance with advanced life support system has been procured through donations

Amid pouring rain, a patient with complaints of chest pain was brought to a hospital in the small Malnad town of Kalasa during a night in August 2019. After diagnosing the condition as myocardial infarction (heart attack) the patient, from Balehole village, was sent in an ambulance to Mangaluru for advanced treatment. But a fallen tree at Kudremukh left the ambulance stranded on the road for more than an hour. As the ambulance did not have a ventilator and life support system, the patient could not be saved.

This incident made Padmanabha Kamath K., head of the Department of Cardiology at Kasturba Medical College, determined to make some difference to this situation as the patient had been referred to him. The doctors from Kaveri Memorial Charitable Hospital at Kalasa who had referred the patient also joined in the effort as they had been looking for an ambulance with advanced life support system since some years to save the lives of such patients. Dr. Kamath and Vikram Prabhu, doctor from Kaveri hospital, have now succeeded in procuring “life on wheels” with donations from Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL), Mangaluru-based Karnataka Bank, doctors from Cardiology at Doorstep Foundation, Mangaluru, and others.

The ambulance with a ventilator and life support system is ready in Kalasa for commissioning by mid-February. It will be stationed in the Kaveri hospital and maintained by it. Dr. Prabhu told The Hindu that a corpus of ₹5 lakh had been collected from donors for its maintenance. “We will collect ₹500 to be payable to the driver and only the diesel cost from poor patients,” Dr. Prabhu said, and added that the ambulance would be exclusively reserved for transporting patients with complications related to the heart and lungs as it will take two hours from Kalasa to reach any hospital with advanced treatment facilities and experts. “Health care does not mean only diagnosis and treatment. It includes safe transportation of patients too,” said Dr. Kamath, who manages four WhatsApp groups of doctors spread across India for mutual consultation and guidance. In addition, he manages a helpline with a WhatsApp number to offer guidance to medical professionals on cardiac cases. Doctors from those groups have also contributed for purchase the hi-tech ambulance.

Prakash Kumar, vice-president, Kalasa Gram Panchayat, and Santhosh Poojary, a doctor at Balehole, said such an ambulance would be a boon for patients in Malnad areas a majority of the ambulances were mere patient careers without life support system.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 2:12:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/life-on-wheels-to-the-rescue-of-the-needy-in-malnad-areas/article30660244.ece

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