Pune's Worsening Traffic Jams Put Emergency Medical Services At Risk; Experts Call For Dedicated Ambulance Lanes

Pune's Worsening Traffic Jams Put Emergency Medical Services At Risk; Experts Call For Dedicated Ambulance Lanes

Dr HK Sale, director of Noble Hospital, expressed disgust at the traffic conditions in the city

Hayat (Nozia) SayyedUpdated: Tuesday, January 23, 2024, 02:48 PM IST
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The deplorable state of Pune's roads and the increasing traffic chaos are not just subjects of public grievance; it has also come to light that emergency medical services (EMS) are bearing the brunt of these dire conditions.

Balasaheb Hingne, President of the Pune Ambulance Association, spoke to The Free Press Journal, revealing the alarming impact on patient care. He said, "As the city's traffic conditions worsen, the golden period for transporting a patient to a hospital, typically five to seven minutes, has now skyrocketed to an alarming 30 to 40 minutes. This threefold increase is resulting in delayed treatment, directly jeopardising the health and lives of those being transported."

He continued, “The civic administration needs to promptly ease traffic for ambulances now, as every minute counts in an emergency. We are sure the civic body does not want to suffer a loss of life due to poor traffic conditions."

Meanwhile, Dr Dyaneshwar Shelke, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Emergency Medical Services 108 ambulances, pledged to take action and said, "We will be writing to state authorities, urging immediate intervention to rectify the dismal traffic conditions in cities like Pune and Mumbai. These cities, particularly Pune, seem to suffer from an engineering flaw that needs urgent attention. This will ensure seamless emergency medical services, resulting in proper transport of the patient in the golden period."

Shelke also demanded a dedicated ambulance lane in the city so that patients could be saved from the “life-threatening consequences” of traffic congestion.

Another solution, Shelke suggested, is the Regional Transport Office (RTO) making it mandatory for vehicles to display a "give way to an ambulance" message during license renewal. "This initiative will help foster awareness about the critical importance of prioritising a patient's life during transit," he said.

Dr HK Sale, director of Noble Hospital, expressed disgust at the traffic conditions in the city. He said, "The city's traffic is not just deplorable but has reached an intolerable state. Our staff face the brunt daily."

To meet emergency surgery deadlines, Sale revealed that doctors are forced to resort to two-wheelers due to insurmountable traffic hurdles. “We face severe challenges while attending critical cases such as polytrauma, myocardial function, and cesarean sections, leading to an increased risk of road traffic accidents for medical professionals.”

Holding the city administration accountable for the worsening conditions, Sale said, "The suffering extends beyond Punekars; it's a severe blow to healthcare services. We urgently need experts to conduct a thorough study of the city and redesign roads and signals to ensure the unimpeded flow of emergency medical services in Pune."

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