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IND Press: Poisoned? Dial 1054

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Posted by: W von Papineu at Fri Jul 15 05:57:28 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papineu ]  
   

NEW INDIAN EXPRESS (Noida, India) 11 July 11 Poisoned? Dial 1054 to get an antidote
Chennai: Confused about what to do when bitten by a snake within the state? There’s another short number that you can now dial besides calling for a ‘108’ ambulance. The number is 1054. Of course, while on the preliminary test run that it is on currently, you can only reach this 24x7 poison-helpline if you’re a BSNL customer, so if you’re using other networks, they will be ‘temporarily unavailable’.
“Once we begin full scale operations, other networks will be roped in as well,” assured Dr C Rajendiran, Director of the Institute of Internal Medicine at the Madras Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi GGH.
According to the director, doctors who have been specially trained in poison reaction treatment will always be manning the helpline. “Many people who are bitten by snakes or even ingest poison in suicide bids, do not know how to take emergency action till help arrives,” he explains, “So now if they call the number, our doctor will advise them on how to stop bleeding, identify what the source of antidote is and ensure some preliminary self-care is completed,” he adds.
Even though it does sound like the helpline is merely a set of guidelines that are theoretically applied to patients in times of trauma, Rajendiran clarifies that in the event of an extreme emergency their doctor will immediately secure their location and inform the 108 service or closest hospital.
The utility of the helpline does not end with precautionary care for patients, “During our trial phase we had gotten calls from doctors from across the state who needed advice on antidote and what quantity has to be administered. Through this medium, we can give the advise quickly and save some lives,” he explains. The helpline will be fully functional after a week, he promises.
Health Minister V S Vijay who also inaugurated a High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machine at the GGH on Saturday, held a similar view, “This machine will identify exactly how much venom is there in the blood. That way antidote, which is a double-edged sword, will be administered in the exact required amount.”
The Minister also praised the quick setting up of the ‘telemedicine’ system in the case of the poison helpline. Vijay outlined his plan to set up poison centres in all block of PHCs across the state, “If you notice, the snake bites in villages and rural TN are much higher than in cities like Chennai. We will start these centres in three PHCs first and based on how it works we may well expand across the entire state.” He also reacted strongly to the allegation that antidotes were classified as a ‘banned’ substance at pharmaceutical stores, calling the reports “fake and misleading news aimed at confusing the people.”
Considering anywhere between 80,000 and 1,00,000 people are bitten by snakes in TN every year, by the doctor’s reckoning, this system is a welcome sign. Though only a fraction of these cases actually die because of the venom, the number of suicide by poisoning reports piling in from across the state show that there is room for much work.
Poisoned? Dial 1054 to get an antidote


   

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