A helipad facility,which was to come up at the AIIMS Trauma Centre,has been delayed since 2007 due to security reasons,AIIMS Trauma Centre chief Dr M C Misra said at the ongoing International Congress on Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) on Thursday.
We have been held back not because of logistical reasons,but for the clearances we need to take considering the high security area we are located in. Now both Pawan Hans and HSLC have agreed,and the project is likely to move ahead, Dr Misra said.
At present,patients from remote terrains are being airlifted to the Palam airbase and then brought to the centre by road. We have treated about half a dozen people who have been airlifted in this manner last year. One of them was a soldier from Srinagar, Dr Misra said.
Experts,however,questioned the utility of air ambulances in emergency care. Sharing the problems of the helicopter syndrome that has gripped the US EMS,Don Lundy,EMS director at the Charleston County in USA,said,Air ambulances look good,so people are fascinated about them. But in the USA,we have lost so many of our excellent flight personnel and clinicians in dangerous rescue operations,when road transportation could have resulted in faster transportation of patients to hospitals.
Dr Suresh David,Head of the department of Accident and Emergency Medicine at Vellores Christian Medical College,agreed. Spending so much money on air ambulances for a service that will benefit only 2-3 per cent of the population may not be a feasible option. But for difficult terrains like Jammu and Kashmir,Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh,such helipads may be a necessity, he said.
With many accident victims dying due to lack of proper care while being transported to health facilities,the government is mulling over a National Ambulance Code that specifies requirements of ambulances to ensure timely and quality emergency care.