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Jaya Shroff Bhalla, Hindustan Times
October 22, 2012
Real life car crash accident scenarios were imitated on Formula 1 tracks by team Apollo this week to be prepared to counter medical emergencies, injuries, burns and fractures due to car crashes. Right from extrication of injured drivers to ambulance transfers to medical centre care, the team practiced on tracks to get an on-hands training in case of accidents.

"The last two races witnessed a few accidents, which required medical attention but were not grave. Still, one can't rule out a severe emergency situation either," said Amit Alok, medical coordinator for F1 at Buddh International Circuit.

"Both the car and the clothes are designed in a way so as to cause minimal damage to the driver himself, but we can't take chances," he said.

To fight emergencies, Apollo hospital has put together a team of 85 people-specialists, doctors and paramedics for the Formula 1 starting October 26.

"Besides medical chase cars, we have four medical intervention vehicles, seven ambulances and two standby helicopters for handling emergencies. A specialist team of doctors and paramedics will be stationed during the event at the medical centre to handle accidents," said Dr. Priyadarshini Pal Singh, head of department of accident and emergency at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, who has also been appointed as the deputy chief medical officer of the F1 Race by Federation of International Automobiles.

All the medical teams will be in touch with race control room where Dr. Pal will direct them at the time of an accident.

"A lot of emphasis was laid on responsiveness and communication of the team, as it most important during such high adrenaline rush races that messages are properly conveyed on from race control to respective team and vice versa," she said.

Besides car crash and on-site help, the team also carried out a helicopter drill by lifting a dummy patient from site of crash and transferring him to Apollo hospital's in-house helipad.

"This helipad facility within the event premises is to ensure medical assistance through air evacuation in case of any accident at the circuit," said Dr Pal.

Apollo team underwent rigorous training of over 30 days, which included courses in basic life support, advance cardiac life support and trauma support.