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Chopper to cut rescue time

Delay in transferring an accident victim to hospital often results in death. But in six months from now, it will be possible to fly patients in urgent need of medical attention to the Trauma Centre at AIIMS, reports Rhythma Kaul.

delhi Updated: Feb 21, 2009 13:52 IST
Rhythma Kaul

Delay in transferring an accident victim to hospital often results in death. But in six months from now, it will be possible to fly patients in urgent need of medical attention to the Trauma Centre at All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Construction of a rooftop helipad will begin at the trauma centre in April, and it is likely to be completed within three months, sources told HT.

The AIIMS Trauma Centre will thus become the first government hospital in the country to offer an air ambulance facility.

“Construction won’t take long: the delay is on account of getting clearances from various departments. But now things are going in the right direction,” said Dr Amit Gupta, Assistant Professor, surgery, who is part of the helipad project team.

To begin with, accident victims from highways, neighbouring states and even the border areas will be airlifted. Later, depending upon the response — the facility will be expanded across the Capital.

“Initially, the service is going to be for bringing in patients from other states and border areas, but we hope to extend it to people within the city,” said Dr Gupta.

“For any stand-alone trauma centre, it is imperative to provide an air-ambulance service, as it saves precious time lost in transferring patients to the hospital. The provision for a helipad had been there in the (centre’s) blueprint, but the project got delayed due to technical reasons,” said Dr MC Misra, chief of the Trauma Centre.

AIIMS had not been able to get the required clearances for the project. But now, the agency responsible for getting the required clearances — HSCC India Ltd — has put it on the fast track.

Of the six departments from which permission has to be sought, five have given their consent. The matter is now stuck with the defence ministry, but the requisite clearance is expected within weeks.

The combined budget for the helipad and linking tunnel projects (see box) is expected to be Rs 50 crore. “The health ministry will bear the cost,” said Dr Misra.