During the ongoing flood relief operations in Kerala, a special helicopter is serving as a "flying ICU" and has already saved a woman's life who suffered a heart attack in a remote location in the state.
The helicopter, equipped with ventilators, monitors, suction machines, oxygen cylinders and other emergency medical equipment, is first-of-its kind aero-medical service that is being used in an emergency situation in India. The helicopter flies with a team of specialist doctors and paramedics to stabilize a critical patient.
Dr Rahul Singh Sardar, Co-Founder of ICATT Health Solutions, who specialized in aviation medicine from the UK, has introduced the "flying ICU" service in India along with co-founder Dr Shalini Nalwad, and is providing care to the flood victims for free. The aero-medical service, he said, is being funded by a trust called "Sai Gramam".
"The whole idea is to transport the specialists' team in this helicopter to the place where it is needed the most... where we can stabilize the person and start intensive care therapy and then shift the patient to a tertiary centre for escalation of care," Dr Singh told NDTV.
For Kerala, Dr Singh said, they have introduced a "track and trigger" approach and through this they are in touch with all the doctors in the relief camps and tracking critical patients. "We are keeping a close eye on the patients. If a patient fails to respond to the conventional therapy, then the patient is taken on board the "flying ICU" and is stabilized before being airlifted to the hospital in Trivandrum or Cochin," he said.
The flying ICUs are being seen as the future of emergency medical care in India and Dr Rahul said that their team plans to train more doctors in aero-medical services in the country.
"This emergency care is the need of the hour in India as we need to facilitate medical care at the highways across the country where a lot of people die daily," Dr Singh said, adding, "it's about time and things need to change".
Congress President Rahul Gandhi's chopper had to give way today at Chengannur to the "flying ICU" which went for an emergency medical evacuation. He is on a two-day visit in Kerala to meet the flood victims.
Kerala has witnessed the worst flood situation in a century, claiming lives of more than 400 people and causing a damage of nearly Rs 20,000 crore.
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