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Crisis manager

After an accident in 2007,Piyush Tewari saw a big gap in emergency medical care.

Written by Shreya Sareen | Published: March 4, 2012 3:10:44 am

After the death of a cousin in a car accident,Piyush Tewari left a private equity fund to work full-time on training people to provide emergency care

After an accident in 2007,Piyush Tewari saw a big gap in emergency medical care. “I lost my 16-year-old cousin in a road accident. He was still alive after the collision but no bystander provided assistance and no ambulance arrived. He remained unattended to for about an hour on the roadside,where he bled to death. I discovered just how preventable such deaths are — with the right system and policies in place,” he says.

In 2008,Tewari established SaveLife Foundation to train people to provide emergency care. “When we started,the biggest roadblock we faced was that of convincing people of the need for what we were advocating. We were a young organisation with no track record,and therefore convincing people that our intention was to make the fastest possible care available to road victims was a slight challenge,” says 31-year-old Tewari,who left a private equity fund in 2011 to work full-time on SaveLife and expand its operations.

SaveLife,which has its office in Bhikaji Cama Place,works with AIIMS and Apollo Hospitals to provide training in basic life support. It began by training police personnel — the first responders to most accidents — in basic trauma care,and made policy recommendations on pre-hospital trauma care and road safety.

“SaveLife has trained more than 3,000 police responders in Delhi,UP and Maharashtra. We have also trained close to 2,000 community volunteers. These are groups of students from DU colleges,IIT,and young executives from various companies. The training is free of charge,and is done under supervision of a qualified trauma specialist. We impart skills such as scene safety to avoid any further accidents during rescue — heavy bleeding control,cardio-pulmonary resuscitation to revive a victim whose pulse has stopped and c-spine immobilisation to avoid aggravating spinal injuries during transportation. We also train management of special scenarios such as electrocution,drowning and impalement after an accident,” Tewari says.

The day-long training is largely practice-oriented. For police training,they get a police vehicle so that participants can practice skills inside it to know the limitations that it poses.

SaveLife is now creating what Tewari calls India’s first community-driven emergency response network. “This system will bring together trained volunteers,mobile technology and better police response to ensure care for road-accident victims within minutes.” For this,the first step is training police and community volunteers to become effective first responders. They are then linked with hospitals through a round-the-clock call centre using technology that alerts and coordinates caregivers. They have created a three-tier system of emergency care — the community volunteer who first reaches a victim on the road,the police providing trauma care en route to the hospital,and the emergency room in the hospital.

SaveLife,which is training in Delhi,is looking for volunteers.

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