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Dipesh Majumdar

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What to do in a medical emergency?

June 14, 2012

This is again a valuable lesson learnt the hard way.

I took my patient to Fortis early morning in the emergency ward. There were no rooms available so I had to try in another hospital and found no rooms there as well. Google helped me finally come up with Narayana Hrudalaya which acknowledged availability of rooms for patient. So the patient was taken to Narayana Hrudalaya but we lost quite some time reaching there. I could have avoided this delay had I applied some common sense. Mistakes do happen and mostly they happen at crunch times because at such times our amygdala kicks off and our logical circuitry of brain becomes inactive.

So from my experience today I have noted down some of the steps that we should follow whenever we are hit with an unxpected emergency, i.e, any of the following... if someone faints, becomes badly ill, compains of chest-pain or shows any other physical problem.

1. Call up the big hospitals (in your city) - Fortis, Apollo, Narayana Hrudalaya etc if you are a Bangalorean, and find out if rooms are available for patient. This should be step no. 1. Keep the hospital phone numbers ready in a diary or some place that is easily accessible. Note that the patient might be discharged after initial check-up but there can also be a need for admission into a hospital ward/room. Non availability of rooms can then force the attendants to explore alternatives... just like what happened with me. This can cause further delay. Such a situation should be avoided at any cost. 

2. These hospitals also have ambulance-facilities which one can avail if condition is very bad. A myth among many people is that ambulances are very costly to avail. It's not so.  Charges of ambulance can be as low as Rs. 1000 approx. Ambulance takes some time to come to the spot and then again take the patient back to the hospital, so it is also a good option to take the patient in a car. This becomes a one way journey. One should be able to reach a hospital quickly. For example Narayana Hrudalaya is connected from Silk Board by elevated expressway and then by four lane NH7. It is connected from Bannerghatta road by Nice road and then four lane expressway. Traffic congestion rarely occur in these roads and so patients can be taken to hospitals in very less time. Hospitals inside the city are difficult to reach in busy hours.

3. Don't waste time and take the patient to hospital as soon as possible. In such moments don't think about wearing a decent shirt or saree, straightening dishelveled and untidy hair, brushing teeth etc. Each second saved can turn out to be very valuable.

4. Keep talking in a positive tone and give mental strength to the patient. Don't panic in front of a patient.  Intermittently provide him with solution of water, salt and sugar. 

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