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On Monday evening, ophthalmologist Dr Seema Jagdale, a resident of Hadapsar, heard screams and cries for help from an apartment on the second floor of her building.
When Jagdale and her husband rushed to the apartment, they saw that their neighbour Sanjay Pawar (36) had collapsed. Pawar was also sweating profusely and had a feeble pulse.
Recalling the incident, Jagdale said, “It was scary. Our neighbour was lying unconscious… his eyes had rolled up and he was frothing at the mouth. He was totally cold and his forehead was sweaty. His pulse was hardly palpable”.
Pawar’s wife told her that within a few minutes of returning home from work, her husband had collapsed in the drawing room. Jagdale, an eye specialist in H V Desai Eye Hospital, started administering basic life support, as per the training she had received in her college days.
The doctor and her husband first lifted Pawar’s legs, to increase the supply of blood to his brain. They took immediate measures to provide enough ventilation in the room and directed Pawar’s wife to start mouth-to-mouth breathing, while Jagdale initiated a cardiac massage. Soon, Pawar started moving his hands and shaking his head.
The state-run 108 ambulance service arrived within 20 minutes. By then, Pawar had regained consciousness but was disoriented. He was admitted to the ICU of a private hospital where he is currently recovering.
“Sometimes, we fall out of touch with what we were taught so many years ago… but when I saw a patient in a critical condition, it brought back all that I had learnt,” she said. Jagdale emphasised the need to train more such first responders, who are capable of handling critical situations before the ambulance arrives.
“Of late, there has been so much animosity against doctors, especially with patients claiming negligence in treatment, but there is also a need for people to be trained in how to respond to emergency situations,” she said.
Dr Dnyaneshwar Shelke, chief operating officer of the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) Dial 108, said that immediate response to treat a critical patient was the need of the hour. “We have conducted various awareness programmes at 21 housing societies in Pune, Mumbai and Sangli. In Pune, programmes have been held at the Blue Ridge Society, Hinjewadi, Forest Trails Society, Bhugaon, Avaneesh Society, Kothrud, Winkar Society, Padmavati, Ojas Society, Baner-Pashan road, Camp Education society and others,” he said.
“We have also trained 350 Forest Range officers, especially in areas which have poor connectivity,” said Shelke.
The Lifesavers Club, founded by Dr Fiyaz Pasha, who is also head of the accident and emergency department at Jehangir Hospital, has trained over 5,000 people. “We identify housewives and security guards… we train them in basic first aid and also on how to respond to chest pain, breathlessness and other ailments. The first responders in any emergency situation are always crucial,” said Pasha.