Trauma care makes debut
A STAFF REPORTER

Calcutta Telegraph, India
Nov 15 2004

In Calcutta, nearly 450 people die in road accidents every year,
and a few hundred more lose their limbs or become paralysed after
suffering a massive heart attack from trauma-related injuries.

"The first few minutes are very critical and that is the period
when a person has the best chance of survival, even in a near-fatal
accident. But sadly, we don't have enough personnel or expertise
to handle trauma cases better," said Sourav Koley, critical care
specialist in Calcutta.

All that is likely to change when the city's first-ever trauma care
hospital opens on Monday. The Rs 27-crore hospital, a joint venture
of the Armenian Church of India and the Asia Heart Foundation, is the
first such project in eastern India, which started a year ago after
the state government greenlighted it.

Between 1998 and 2004, at least 38 people died on the city streets,
and the trend shows no sign of decelerating. Doctors believe it is
mainly owing to the lack of timely attention and proper medical care.

For some time, critical care specialists in the city were trying to
teach cardiac resuscitation to the police force. It is an important
technique for reviving trauma-affected people.

However, with little to show for all that, the government decided a
few years ago to start its own trauma care hospital at SSKM Hospital
and another such unit was planned at Medical College and Hospital.
The foundation stone for such a hospital was laid at SSKM Hospital,
but the project never got underway due to lack of funds.

Finally, early last year, the Armenian Church members and Devi Shetty,
chairman of the Asia Heart Foundation that runs the Rabindranath
Tagore International Institute for Cardiac Sciences, at Mukundapur,
off the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, placed the proposal before the
government, which soon okayed it.

The 300-bed hospital will have a 30-member medical team throughout
the day, on duty 24 hours, for the benefit of patients who could be
rushed in for trauma care any moment. Apart from state-of-the-art
neuro-surgery speciality, the hospital has all top-of-the-line medical
equipment to tackle urgent cases of orthopaedics, neurology, nephrology
and urology.

Housed on the same campus as the Mukundapur hospital, the trauma care
centre will have cardiac specialists from the mother hospital to take
care of the cardiology part of the treatment, explained vice-chairman
Aloke Roy, himself an expert in nuclear medicine.

"The treatment will not be expensive. A dilation facility will be
available for Rs 700 and CT scan for Rs 800 only. If a patient is poor,
we won't charge him anything at all," Roy added.