Portal in the offing after helpline for cardiac patients

In India,on an average one person dies of heart attack every three minutes. Symptom to door,door to needle and door to balloon time is crucial in the management of cardiac patients.

Written by Jinal Shah | Mumbai | Published:March 2, 2009 3:17 am

In India,on an average one person dies of heart attack every three minutes. Symptom to door,door to needle and door to balloon time is crucial in the management of cardiac patients. To provide prompt service to Mumbaiites,Asian Heart Institute in Bandra-Kurla Complex has come up with a unique helpline 126126,for cardiac emergencies.

In an interview with Newsline,Vice-Chairman and Chief Cardio Vascular Thoracic Surgeon at the Asian Heart Institute says that if used properly,the helpline would significantly reduce pre-admission mortality.

What is the need for this helpline?
On an average,every month we record two deaths before admission due to lack of medical help in time. In Mumbai,there are 20 speciality hospitals with cardiac units and going by our calculations,40-50 people die every month before medical help reaches them. The city traffic is a nuisance. The ambulances might not reach the hospital or the patient in time. Through this helpline,the doctors can continuously guide the patient’s relatives or family on what to do till the time medical help reaches the patient. We have set the response time of 30 minutes for ambulances to reach the patients in daytime and 15 minutes at night.

The helpline was launched four days back. How was the response?
The response has been very good. Every day on an average we get 40 to 50 calls,most of them seeking medical advice. The ambulance service is also slowly picking up. For a couple of days we also got prank calls but we expected such a thing to happen.  

Does any other state or country have a similar helpline or ambulance service for emergencies?
To the best of my knowledge,in India,there is no such helpline that clubs emergency services and general medical advice on cardiac problems. In United States,there is a helpline — 911,which is functioning very efficiently but we cannot adopt the concept due to logistical and traffic issues.

There are no courses on emergency care in India.
It is unfortunate that medical emergencies are not a part of our medical curriculum unlike in western countries. At Asian Heart Institute,we have made it compulsory for doctors to learn the advance life support system to enter the intensive care unit and basic life support system for nurses in wards. Also,we have listed few things as mandatory for cardiac ambulances. All ambulance service providers have to fulfill the criteria.

Spot loan and emergency services,what is next in the offing from your institute?
We will soon come up with a portal,initially for AHI only (later expand it to all other hospitals) wherein patients can do e-payments,take online appointments among other things. This will reduce the queues and will be more convenient for patients.

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