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Indo-American doctors lend a hand

Ten doctors plan to establish an ambulance service in Mumbai for accident victims during peak periods.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2006 11:10 IST

Ten Indian American doctors are to establish an ambulance service in Mumbai to provide critical care to accident victims during the "golden hour" when most lives can be saved.

The Hinduja Hospital will be the nerve centre for the Rs.140-million ($3 million) project, which has an annual recurring cost of Rs.40 million.

Seven other hospitals and four medical colleges will initially be part of the network, which has the blessings of the Maharashtra government, according to Navin C. Shah, a Maryland-based urologist.

"The Hinduja Hospital has agreed to provide eight manned ambulances with all emergency care equipment and give facilities for training. This will be imparted by US-based doctors for the next five years," Shah told IANS.

"A committee of deans of the medical colleges, chief executives of major hospital in Mumbai and government officials will be meeting in a fortnight to formulate the plan of action for implementing the project," he added.

Against two deaths per 10,000 vehicle accidents in the US, the mortality rate in India is 140 per 10,000 accidents, Shah pointed out.

"We hope to reduce the deaths by 33 percent and morbidity (disability) by 50 percent by providing timely help during the golden hour when time is of great essence," said Shah.

He is hopeful that his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss for establishing similar facilities across the country will bear fruit once the Mumbai experiment starts showing results.

Both of them have assured him and his US colleagues all support in their endeavour.

In the case of accident victims, Maharashtra officials have promised that the attorney general would be approached to modify rules enabling medical aid to be rendered immediately without waiting for the police to arrive and record the victim's statement.

"Our attempt would be to create an Indian model for critical care in one city so that it can be replicated in other cities. We will be actively involved in the project for five years," said Shah.

"Within three months we hope to have the first phase of the project in operation. In the second phase more hospitals in Mumbai will be invited to offer similar services."

There would be an annual audit to monitor the effectiveness of the programme in which all the participating hospitals would have separate departments for emergency critical care with a trained doctor and team on standby at all times.

First Published: Jan 23, 2006 11:10 IST