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In case of a medical emergency, every moment is critical in saving a patient's life. The initial assessment and early commencement of the treatment to the patient in the very first hour is crucial in many emergencies and this window of time is often referred to as the 'Golden Hour'. Ambulances play a pivotal role in the golden hour, as the responsibility of the initial treatment and also transporting the patient to the hospital lies with them.

With increasing traffic on the roads, we must be sensitive about giving way to the ambulance. The moment we hear the siren of the ambulance, the motorist should start moving to a side and give way to it.

The simplest and safest way to give way to an ambulance is by:

  • Slowing down
  • Keeping to your left

The top time-critical medical emergencies include heart attacks, strokes and poly-trauma with ongoing bleeding

In case of a heart attack, a portion of the heart muscle stops receiving adequate blood supply due to blockage of the blood vessel and each passing minute increases the chances of irreversible death of that portion of the heart muscle or fatal arrhythmia (abnormal rhythm). Similarly, in stroke a portion of the brain loses its blood supply and irreversible cell death starts, which worsens as the time passes leading to irreversible functional disability or even death. In case of poly trauma patients severe blood loss is the commonest cause of death.

The immediate management for all these time critical emergencies starts as soon as the patient is in the ambulance. Nowadays, state-of-the-art ambulances function as 'Hospitals on Wheels', as they have resuscitative equipment along with trained staff and modern communication technological aids to alert and keep the hospital emergency teams in readiness to take over as soon as the patient arrives at the Emergency Room.

However even the best - equipped ambulance needs to reach a specialized emergency centre at the earliest to have the best chance, to save a life.

We must sensitize people to the fact that every second counts in a medical emergency, which is why it is vital for people to give way when an ambulance approaches. It may mean the difference between life and death.

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