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Saving precious lives

Violent crimes are increasing in the city at an alarming rate. Every day newspaper readers are confronted with headlines of someone shot here or worse still, a bloodbath there in which a number of people are gunned down. This unabated wave of violent crime is claiming several lives in a day. While a majority of them die due to unfettered use of firearms, there are also those whose lives could have been saved only if the law enforcement agencies and indeed the common folks had the knowledge of simple procedures that would stop/curtail the blood loss due to grievous injuries to make it possible for the victim to reach the hospital alive. Not only is there lack of knowledge about basic first aid methods, there also seems to be total ignorance of the fact that victims of gunshot wounds or other injuries must be provided immediate first-aid with basic steps to stop bleeding. From the stories in the press it seems a lot of injured persons are dying mainly due to loss of blood. The worst sufferers are the victims in outlying areas of the city because they are ferried all the way to the few government hospitals where they can be treated. The usual procedure I understand is that first they are taken to Abbasi Shaheed hospital and then transported to Jinnah or Civil hospital where they probably get treated. I wonder how much or any first-aid they get in the initial hour of their injuries. Now these can be victims of a criminal act or sufferers of an accident but basically these are wounded people requiring immediate attention and as a first priority some actions to stop their bleeding. Do you know how crucial it is to stop bleeding after an accident or criminal act?

According to reports, uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death. What does it take to prevent that? All it takes is packing the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both hands. No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene. A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes; therefore it is important to quickly stop the blood loss and the first arrivals can save a precious life. Unfortunately, that is something crowds that gather after an incident in Karachi have the last thing on their minds. If it is a traffic accident, the busy road suddenly assumes the shape of a place for awarding justice and the crowd that gathers becomes judge and jury. Ignoring the plight of those that need immediate attention and as in most cases initial attention to their wounds with the top priority of stopping blood flow the crowd starts deciding who was at fault and in some cases even trying to award on-the-spot punishment to the erring driver. The same thing happens when shooting incidents take place. Crowds can sometimes catch the dacoits and are too busy in awarding them on-the-spot justice instead of offering immediate attention the victims whose lives could be saved by simple procedures that can stop free flow of blood endangering their lives.

One of the commendable efforts of the Sindh government in the field of health care are the heart-related basic health facilities across the province, including Karachi. Anyone with a sudden heart problem can get basic heart treatment close to their home and many lives are saved. People dying of blood loss after accidents and criminal acts should also be able to get the required first-aid all across the city with basic first-aid stations at all important junctions providing immediate attention to stop unchecked blood flow and save lives.

The usual news report about accidents and criminal activity in the metropolis goes like this “The victims were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and then to Jinnah Hospital where doctors declared them dead on arrival”. Obviously, the victims will be dead on arrival if you take them on a city tour before they get basic medical aid. One hopes that in future simple medical practices that are prevalent around the world and saving lives are also implemented here to prevent unnecessary deaths due to delay in treatment.

Zia Ul Islam Zuberi, "Saving precious lives," Business recorder. 2023-12-30.
Keywords: Social sciences , Social issues , Violent crimes , Civil Hospital , Jinnah Hospital , Gunshot , Criminal act , Abbasi Shaheed , Pakistan

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