Medical care to be available on trains soon

In wake of the long pending demand of the rail passengers for emergency medical services on board the trains, the railway authorities are said to have mooted a proposal to provide the facility, and once the policy decision is taken at the top level in the Union Railway Ministry, the plan will be put be into effect.

Instances of medical emergencies occurring during rail travel, especially on trains running on long routes, are not uncommon, and at times, people suffering from some acute problem while travelling have to be boarded off the train at the nearest railway station for treatment. In such cases, the passengers always run the risk of getting medical care “too late”, and at times, the delay can prove fatal.

It was only last week that an elderly person travelling from New Delhi to Chandigarh by Shatabdi Express, suffered a heart attack during his train journey, and in the absence of medical care, he died by the time the train reached the Chandigarh railway station.

Senior railway officials said, deploying a doctor on board all the trains was impractical for the simple reason that railway did not have that kind of resources to have that many doctors on the rolls. “However, it is also a matter of record that quite a few doctors frequently travel by trains, especially elite trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani as well as other mail and express trains,” the officials said while adding that the Railways had decided to avail the services of the travelling doctors for medical emergencies.

Although the proposal is in still in the initial planning stage, and final modalities will be known only after its execution, the officials said the Railway would allow travel concession to qualified doctors intending to travel by trains, and in return they would have to give their consent to provide emergency medical care to other co-passengers in the same train if required.

In order to provide this facility, a separate reservation chart of doctors travelling by that particular train, with their mobile numbers, will be prepared so that they can be contacted in cases of medical emergencies. “The railway authorities will make adequate provisions of having medical kits on all long route trains to make this facility fully operational,” added the railway officials.

Dr Manoj Sobti, president of Punjab state branch of the Indian Medical Association, termed it a welcome proposal that would go a long way in saving precious human lives. “One comes across such cases when a rail traveller suffers from some acute problem, and more often cardiac conditions, which need immediate medical attention. By tending to medical emergencies during rail travel, the medical fraternity will render a huge service to the humanity,” he remarked.


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