Save Heart: An Initiative Of Health Deptt Saves 250 Lives In One Month  

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The Legitimate Desk

On February 1, around mid night when it was heavily raining outside, a 50 year old patient Ghulam Nabi Mir from Mohura village in Uri with hypertension and other ailments was brought to district hospital Baramulla in an unconscious state, the doctor on night duty after initial examination and performing electo cardiogram (ecg), realized that patient had suffered a major heart attack and after initial investigations the doctor proved right.  To save life of this patient, the fast medical intervention by a team of doctors was an urgent requirement. In the medical terminology the initial minutes after the patient suffers a heart attack or stroke are very crucial and to save the human life this first hour has been named as  – ’Golden Hour’ and the patients who get medical help in this hour have maximum chances of survival.

Pediatric heart surgery, close-up

Without wasting any time, the on duty doctor or Medical Officer (MO) put the ECG details of the patient on the Whats App group of ‘- Save Heart Initiative – and within seconds, the cardiologists from different parts of Valley started guiding Medical Officer (MO) about the steps he needed  to take to save this precious human life.

After all the details, two cardiologists who were sitting at two different places in Kashmir directed the on duty doctor to perform thrombolysis on the patient and within minutes the doctor performed this crucial procedure with at least seven to eight doctor monitoring the outcome procedure on the Whats App. All the doctors and attendants of patient got relieved when on duty doctor conveyed the stable parameters to the group members about the patient. Thus a human life was saved.

Earlier such patients with heart ailments or heart attack symptoms used to be referred directly to higher medical centers and most of those patients used to die before they could reach to the higher centers as the doctors in rural hospitals seldom used to help such patients fearing repercussions.

Mir was later referred to Srinagar where after few days of treatment he was discharged. ‘When we submitted records of patients to cardiologist at SKIMS, they appreciated the team of doctors for performing thrombolysis on time and saving the life. The delay could have caused death and our family would have suffered tragic loss,’’ says Mir’s relative. ‘For us timely intervention by the doctors was a big blessing which we couldn’t believe even now.’

Save Heart Initiative was launched by Director Health Services Kashmir, Saleem U Rehman on December 21, last year on the first day of Chilay Kalan – the 40 day long harshest winter period in Kashmir, since then doctors under directorate of health services department have managed to save at least 300 human lives in remote and rural pockets of the Valley, a major breakthrough.

Though the hospitals under directorate of Health Service are designated to provide only primary health services, however, of late these hospitals especially district hospitals in north and south Kashmir have been even providing tertiary care facilities to the patients, including some rare surgeries. The Centre has now acknowledged the services and termed J&K as one of the most emerging state in health care.

After its success, the Save Heart Initiative has been designated as special day by Health Services department in saving lives of people after suffering stroke. This initiative is brainchild of Director Health, Dr Saleem- ur-Rehman and Dr Shamus who is now monitoring this initiative. ‘Under this initiative only this winter we have been able to save more than 250 human lives or patients who suffered cardiac attacks in remote parts of Kashmir,’’ said Dr. Saleem- ur-Rehman.

He said that this initiative was launched on December 21 this year after one year of hectic efforts. ‘’We collected data for many years and found that in winters, people suffer heart problems and many die before they could reach the higher centres. So, we started working on this initiative and it took us one year to set things in place and now we are reaping dividends of this Save Heart Initiative. Our endeavour is to make it more feasible’’

Under this program, the doctors and other staff where initially trained at Dhobiwan Centre in north Kashmir’s Tangmarg and the staff including doctors were trained in multi level basic life support system, emergency room trauma course, and advance cardiac life support.

“For us results are amazing, even we are training our people in high altitude training system and through that we have even managed to bring down the deaths from 150 to 21 last year,’’ said Director Health adding that around 300 people were trained from across the Valley to be part of this initiative.

And when this initiative was launched by Director Health he had said that 21st December of every year will be observed by the department as Save Hearts Day.

‘’The aim of this day is to sensitize the public about the various cardiac ailments and ways to prevent the same,’’ he said, adding  that this  is also an initiative aiming at the training, guidance, professional support to all doctors serving in the remotest areas of the valley on a routine basis. ‘’It aims at creating a dynamic and integrated professional network amongst the medicos of the region.’

Even the patients from remote villages of Kupwara and Qazigund got procedures done at their nearest health centres and departments have all the names who got benefitted from this initiative.

“This is just a beginning. We will be doing more things in future,’’ said Dr Saleem encouraged by the response and appreciation from the people.

“We get lot of appreciation calls, not only from the patients, but also from the doctors at Higher Centers like SKIMS, SMHS, who openly acknowledge our doctors and MO’s for saving lives in rural setup.’’

The Whats App group that has more than 50 members some cardiologist from SHMS and SKIMS hospital and most of them are highly qualified cardiologists. They all are playing a pivotal role in helping these patients. Even during midnight if there is a message from any remote rural hospital, at least five to seven members trained cardiologist responds to the message or alert.

‘’We (doctors) of this group have taken pledge to take extra efforts to save the human lives especially those who need help even at odd time. We now feel that our efforts have started bearing good results. We will keep on doing this for our society,’’ said a doctor who is member of this group.

Officials said that earlier patients with heart attacks and strokes, used to be sent to SKIMS or SHMS from every rural hospital as the doctors and medical officers knew they can’t handle these type of cases. However, things are now changing fast and lives are being saved every day after the doctors received fresh refresher courses and training under this initiative with an involvement of new technology. ‘This is a nice initiative and saving a human life gives us very satisfaction especially when the lives are being saved at remote corners,’’ said Medical Superintendent, District Hospital Baramulla Syed Masood.

He said that doctors saved many lives after the beginning of this initiative. ‘’Alone at district hospital Baramulla our doctors have performed around 103 thrombolysis cases,’’ he said adding that earlier due to absence of facilities, manpower and medicine, doctors at rural hospital couldn’t do anything. ‘Now we don’t refer these patients, but first stabilize them so that lives are being saved. Even after performing the thrombolysis, the patients got stents or other procedures done later at higher centers including Delhi.’’

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