How I learned that the right mind-set, the right skill-set and the right tool-set are the key to survival
We were flying in the naval version of the small French-made Alouette III helicopter which carries a rescue diver and is not normally fitted with doors as one is flying over the sea. I was sitting in the diver’s seat facing backwards with the stretcher tied to the floor of the helicopter (supported on bricks as it was not a flight stretcher). About an hour into the flight, the patient woke up and started struggling. He managed to free his arm and hit the pilot’s hand holding the collective which controls the power to the rotor. The helicopter bounced wildly during the three- way battle. I was trying to hold the patient’s shoulder down with the right hand to keep him in position, the left wrestling with his right arm. The pilot was trying desperately to keep the aircraft steady as his elbow was struck repeatedly. I had to tie down the patient’s arm but my seatbelt did not allow me to reach far enough and loop the bandage around the stretcher handle. So I opened the seatbelt and managed to loop the bandage around the handle. Pulling it tight, my elbow struck the door handle and the door flew open. The cabin filled with a blast of air and the roaring sound of the rotors as I looked down between my feet at emerald green rice fields 3000 ft below. Balancing on the edge of my seat. I managed to pull the door close, tied the bandage securely and fastened my seatbelt. The patient eventually calmed down and we got him to hospital alive. However, he died on the operation table. Upon analysis, I realized that though I had the will to save life, I lacked the requisite knowledge, the training, the specific skill-set and the tools. I was fighting for life with my hands tied behind my back.
Today, there is much progress in terms of knowledge, training methodology, medical equipment, drugs availability, the internet and mobile technology, etc., one does not have to agonise about emergency tracheostomy anymore like I had to. Today, there are instruments with which even a paramedic can do a crico-thyroidotomy for securing an airway in such cases in 30 seconds with minimal training. It is now possible to put a whole emergency room in your backpack. Backed up by a network, one can now deliver quality emergency pre-hospital medicare as well as routine medicare anywhere, anytime!
In few other places on earth is there more need for this than in India. After leaving the service, I decided to take up the challenge. Our young start-up company- Golden Hour Emergency Medicare Solutions Pvt Ltd. is devoted to providing customized solutions for pre-hospital emergency medicare in any environment and situation as well as routine medicare in remote and rural areas. We are looking for allies in the war for life!
OUR MOTTO: The devil is in the details, and so is salvation
OUR ETHIC: Much more with much less
- Dr. Sangram Singh Pundir, MD, DMM. Surgeon Commander, I.N. (Retd), Chief Medical Officer