Delays in rendering medical assistance can cost lives

You have heard the emergency siren while on the roads.
Ambulance - Emergency services

911 services

911 emergency services
How do we react to the siren?

These photos are from the game Grand Theft Auto – San Andreas. The photos are taken intentionally. You must have even seen the Ambulance driver trying to seek a way, and driving the vehicle just like the one on this game.

I have heard the siren sound so often, and that too during the peak traffic (6:00- 8:00 PM). Near the Guindy race course road or near the Kathipara Junction. I could some times hear my own heart beat, trying to provide way for the ambulance and all of co drivers trying their level best, but all in vain as there is no place to move around.

I have seen on the NEWS paper, television about the VIP traveling on the same roads and the whole traffic would come to a complete stop and people had to wait for a long time in the traffic, where people agitated about the who thing. And things changed, didn’t it.

Just try to imagine, if you were in the Ambulance, and trying to reach your close friend or a relative to the hospital. How would you react?
Well I just did, so is the post.

Why are we not making an effort to save a life?
I don’t want to compare with developed countries, where a pilot vehicle would escort to the hospital or take the patient in a chopper. Let me talk about, what is possible?
Emergency lane

Can we have a separate emergency lane (left or right side, just for a van to pass through). When ever we hear the siren we all leave the lane empty. So the ambulance driver knows this is where he can get the way. Rest of the time it is open to public.
I was even thinking how do we communicate these kind of messages to Chennai traffic police.

Chennai Traffic police once did a campaign on diverting the traffic near the Concorde Signal (velachery). I am sure they would love to do this campaign, because this one would save many lives.
Don’t tell me that this cannot be implemented. I have even highlighted about the VIP stuff. Don’t you think, We can save more lives

17 Comments so far

  1. asdf (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 12:39 am

    Of all the images to post, did you absolutely not have anything better than some video game screenshot? Is this some display of weird humor? Have I walked into a theater of the absurd?

  2. anonymous coward (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 2:13 am

    bah! this is what you can come up with?

    Far more lives can be saved with single legislation.
    No This is not about Helmets!
    Just allow import of used cars from foreign countries at very less import duty (less means 10% not the 120% currently imposed).
    All of a sudden you have a mode of transport which is safer a zillion times than 2-wheeler/bike for the family and children – it is the car.
    used cars are available at new Bajaj pulsar rates.
    Allow duty free import of used cars! Start saving lives!

  3. randomguy (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 4:43 am

    Wow, what insight! Brilliant, and the accompanying pictures are very useful in conveying your idea, not to mention the NEEDLESS capitals and perfect also grammar. You must be made the head of city planning for your brilliant and practical ideas in dealing with congestion

  4. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 6:20 am

    Put more power in the hands of the same drivers and the accident rate will just increase.

    Yes, they may have safety features like airbags that are missing on the local models. But the local models have seat belts, which may be the single biggest life saver since the car started killing people. Do you use them? Insist that your passengers use them?

    So, sure, lets have those foreign cars cheaper! But don’t expect that to save lives.

  5. vinodvv (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 6:58 am

    the reason for Photos from the game is to give you an idea of how the ambulance driver has to drive recklessly to save a life.
    BTW thanks for the comments. Hope any of your friends or relatives are in chennai and have to use the emergency service would be really exciting.

  6. annoynomas (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 7:00 am

    Limit the cars driven by IT pimps, Dravidian thugs
    on the road during rush hour. Absolutely no politicians, movie actors during this period.
    Only, good public transport, pollution free 3 wheelers, and pedal powered cycles. Ban the drivers from driving for a whole year if they don’t give way to emergency vehicles pronto. Drive your two wheeler with no helmets, confiscate and sell it in a auction to build safe school children crossway. It might Help in Emergency vehicles get to where they want to go in time and save a life or two every day.

    But, then again once you are admitted in the
    Hospital, the lack of hygene, bad diagnosis,
    and just not having the right medical equipment
    may kill the person.

    So, eat healthy, stress less, control your anger,
    make lots of love, listen to music, Prey to any GOD and don’t use the computer for more than few
    hours and you will live till the Chinese invade
    south india and build better roads! Then you can
    actually drive your car with your family in peace.

  7. Bharath (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

    a really nice post with a possible solution to the mess. too bad there are others out there who dont realize the need for ambulances to get to the patient and back as fast as possible. i find it appaling that so many people are indifferent to this issue. for people suffering heart attacks or those who’ve been injured by some moronic driver, every minute counts. delays in rendering appropriate medical services is of paramount importance and can save lives.

    however i would like to add that the solution that you propose would possibly not work out simply because nobody gives a damn for lane rules. in the US, when a fire engine or ambulance is on the way (usually with their sirens on), all the other vehicles have to pull over to the right (this would be to the left if implemented in india) and have to wait until it passes. and it is also illegal to follow the vehicle within 300 feet or go to the accident site for ‘chumma sightseeing’ (something that the motorists are fond of). the following link gives some details.

    something similar could be effected in our city too. i shudder to think of bombay or bangalore where the traffic is far worse. interestingly, the hindu had an article in metro plus about a yr ago – they had interviewed ambulance drivers; was an insight into their world. it is not always that their mission is a success.. my college buses are notorious for their bad drivers but even they give way to ambulances.

    director shankar’s movies very often echo sentiments like these.. i think there was something like this in ‘mudhalvan’. it would require a collective effort on all our parts to make a difference. for all we (dont) know, God forbid, we could be in that ambulance someday battling for dear life.

  8. Bharath (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

    oops, its supposed to read ‘delays in rendering medical assistance can cost lives’ above.

  9. vinodvv (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

    Thanks Bharath for the comments, Yesterday I was traveling back home and heard the ambulance siren. Felt I should blog, it was late and had no preparation for this post.
    The title is apt, I have changed it

  10. Mani (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

    This post brought a smile to my face, Vinod. Your idea actually makes sense but implementing it in India is another story. Never mind the losers who can’t appreciate your idea or the game.

    That said, the last place to draw life lessons from is Grand Theft Auto. ;)

  11. anonymous coward (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

    Thad E Gina thoo, I think you have a bike. Let you one fall from it and get your bones broken one day. You can assume whatever you like and like pigs fly, car don’t save lives etc.
    Cars are safer than bikes, meaning it saves lives. Period.
    Allow duty free import of foreign cars! start saving lives!

  12. vinodvv (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 10:31 am

    Thanks for the comment.
    I have a Bike and a Car. If you could help us to import foreign cars at duty free prices we would be glad. If you thought we don’t have the Honda’s, merc’s and bigger brands. Well try to visit India once.
    It is nothing to do with cars or bigger brands coming here. It is mentality of the people which could save lives.

    “That said, the last place to draw life lessons from is Grand Theft Auto. ;)”
    Yes – Games, movies all have negative things. Just try to Convert the negative attitude to positive side.
    Things should keep us moving much safer ;)

  13. D (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 5:30 pm

    Why the pics from GTA? I think what you tried to convey through:
    “How would you react?
    Well I just did, so is the post.”

    was that you actually had to experience the anxiety firsthand.

    But for me, all sense of seriousness has been obliterated – thanks to those pics. However, I was vaguely amused. :->

  14. Anon (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 11:53 pm

    vinodvv, I hope that the person you were with in the ambulance is in better health now. I also understand the reason for the post. That said, you do not help your cause by posting eccentric pictures to accompany the text. It would have had much greater impact without any picutres, and if you had begun the post with the fact that you were in an ambulance recently. Two journalism tips for future use: if your motivation for a post or article is personal, make that personal connection early on. Avoid preaching or stating generic blandishments – let the reader realize those for themselves. Secondly, use appropriate pictures. In this case it would be Chennai traffic, an ambulance in Chennai traffic, or a Chennai traffic jam, or traffic blocked off for allowing some politician to go to his/her place at ridiculous speeds. Inappropriate pictures would be a generic ambulance not in Chennai, a helicopter ambulance and video game screenshots (what were you thinking?!).

  15. vinodvv (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 7:07 am

    Thanks anon,
    I appreciate your comment on the photos.
    I will take that point and will post relevant photos. It makes lot of sense, as you said.
    thanks once again

  16. AP (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

    Nice post….

    Basic problem is ‘mentality of people’. Assume that this problem is fixed, then what?

    1) Roads have to be widened, if not all, at least try to widen as much roads as possible…

    2) Need to put as many signs as possible saying leave way to Ambulance on these roads

    3) All ambulance drivers should be educated about these widened roads, in case of emergency, they should hit one of this road which is close by and drive to hospital.

    4) A city map with clearly marked roads for ambulance should be given to these drivers.

    5) Need to install special lights on all signals, so that whenever an ambulance is nearing the intersection, this special light would blink and alert all other drivers that an ambulance is on its way. (I guess this special light will be remotely controlled by Ambulance drivers)

    6) On top of all these, all major hospitals should have at least 2-3 choppers.

    If you ask me ‘How far this is feasible?’, I don’t know the answer. But somebody who has power to do should try to implement something like this.

  17. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 8:12 am

    Widened roads will just fill up with cars.

    Driving seems to bring out the worst in people the world over, but it is remarkable how, here in Chennai, it turns ordinary people into blind-selfish maniacs obsessed with the importance of their journey.

    And, sad to admit, I’ve joined in!

    When we won’t even let a family cross the road, or pause for a few seconds to let someone turn accross our path — what chance of us being concerned about a sick person in an ambulance?

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