15 March 2010
By Anuradha Mascarenhas
On Sunday, they also put forth a proposal to the police to issue I-cards to doctors so that they can easily be identified and proceed without hindrance to areas stuck by any disaster, manmade or natural, to help victims.
"In Mumbai, the Indian Medical Association doctors have been issued I-cards so that time is not wasted in identification of medical personnel and doctors can reach the spot within minutes," said Dr Hillary Rodrigues, Chairman of the Indian Medical Association (IMA)'s disaster management cell.
Rajendra Sonawane, Joint Commissioner of Police, said they would consider the proposal and it was not a oneman decision. "We can only expect voluntary efforts to a police call requisitioning services and people must unite to meet the challenges," Sonawane said.
Dr Sanjay Vhora, chairman and founder-director of the neuro-trauma unit and Emergency Medical Services at Ruby Hall Clinic, who conducts disaster-management courses for doctors, said they were willing to be part of the proposed cell.
"Each hospital should have a disaster management code and areas should be distributed among hospitals and doctors. It was observed that while doctors and hospitals did a great job in managing blast victims, there was a lot of confusion. Victims had been shifted to various hospitals and it took several hours to locate these patients,'' said Vhora.
I-cards should be issued to doctors who volunteer their services during any disaster, says Vhora. "Unless we have these measures under the disaster management cell, we will not be fully prepared,'' he said.
According to Rodrigues, at present, they have set up a disaster management cell with a committee of 30 doctors. "We will conduct training of doctors and formulate an action plan to involve police and NGOs,'' Rodrigues said.
Dr Prasad Rajhans, pioneer of emergency medical services in Pune and Vice-President of the Indian Society for Critical Care Medicine, said each hospital needs its own security drill. There is a need for an integrated response from the police, fire and ambulance services and their involvement in conducting disaster management drills, along with doctors, he said.