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`Golden hour' is vital for trauma victims

Staff Reporter

Two-day workshop on critical care for accident victims begins tomorrow

CHENNAI: Lack of care during the first hour after an accident can kill or cripple a victim for life; especially in the case of head injuries when the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off, the damage could impair the victim, making rehabilitation difficult. Often doctors themselves are not aware of what should be done, note trauma care experts.

Waiting for an ambulance without providing the victim emergency aid could also be harmful, experts note. Proper care during the first few minutes after an accident/injury can prevent permanent or devastating injury to the body.

To address this problem, a two-day workshop on providing comprehensive trauma life support will be held Wednesday and Thursday at Saveetha Dental College and Hospitals. The course will teach doctors to assess the victim's need for critical care, managing injuries to the head, airway and other parts of the body such as the abdomen and the spinal cord. The course is open to anaesthetists and specialists in dental, neural and orthopaedic care, says N. Ganapathy, organising secretary of the upcoming conference of the Indian chapter of the International Trauma Anaesthesia and Critical Care Society.

International faculty drawn from Australia and North America will conduct the course.

K. Balakrishnan, advisor to the three-day conference beginning on October 21, says while the vehicular strength has risen by one per cent the rate of accidents has risen by six per cent.

A U.S. doctor and teacher at the workshop, Maureen McCunn says those in the age group of 20-44 are more likely to die of trauma brought on by accidents, natural disasters or warfare. Care during the golden hour includes giving fluids, keeping the victim in a state that will improve his condition when he reaches the hospital.

While countries like Austria conduct pre-hospital training courses for bystanders to treat accident victims within the first 10 minutes, India does not have a paramedical council to insist on training for paramedics.

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