NEW DELHI: They are the first to respond to a road emergency, and now the police control room personnel are set to turn paramedics to manage accident trauma. The PCR vans will now carry cervical collars and fracture braces, among other medical accessories, to provide proper care within the crucial first five minutes of an accident.
Additional training will also help the police personnel to judge and deal with the medical condition of the victims. Doctors from AIIMS and NGOs, who already teach the cops how to provide cardio-pulmonary resuscitations and undertake basic procedures, will instruct them in live-saving measures.
The PCR units not only shift accident victims to hospitals, but also handle cases of on births, fires and drowning. Last year, PCR teams attended to 29 lakh calls, of which 44,930 required the moving of victims to hospitals. Obviously, the cops have to ensure the victims are stable enough to withstand a drive in a PCR vehicle.
PCR personnel were trained in 2018 to stanch any heavy flow of blood and to deal with fractures, but they are not equipped to provide immediate medical assistance in many cases. They have to wait for the CATS ambulances to arrive or devise makeshift first aid, often leading to the victims losing precious time before getting medical treatment.
“Having a medical kit in the PCR vehicle will facilitate primary treatment of a wound or a fracture before victims can be reached to a hospital,” said a police officer. The PCR cops have also handled cases of births when taking women in labour to hospital. Such cases too necessitate the availability of a proper medical kit.
In the present set-up, once a distress call reaches the control room, the unit nearest to the scene is sent there. It alerts the control room on the situation, and the latter passes on the information to the beat officer and other emergency response units. It, therefore, takes 5-6 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. In the meantime, the PCR cops assess the condition of the victim and decide on the course of action.
The van will now also carry ice packs and eye shades to ensure that the victim is in comfort and the pain from the injuries is managed before they are shifted.
An assistant sub-inspector posted with a PCR unit in south Delhi said that of all the tasks, shifting an injured person to hospital was most challenging. “Very often, the victims suffer trauma, because of which they stop responding to aid even if they are able to,” the ASI disclosed. “We have to take special care when lifting them into the PCR vehicle because we do not know the nature of injuries they have suffered. The driver too has to be extra careful and avoid all potholes. During the drive to the hospital, a policeman often has to press wounds with cloth or his hands check bleeding and to stop the person from moving too much.”
Senior police officers said the necessary training would be completed later this month and the van equipped with the medical kits by then. There are more than 800 PCR teams on the roads at all times.