Hatzalah to Help Accident Victims in India

April 15, 2012  

The Jewish United Hatzalah organization is hoping to replicate its emergency services in Indian cities in order to provide immediate medical treatment to thousands of people in need.

Road accidents are so common on the highways in India that over one hundred thousand people were killed in 2010 alone, and 30-40 times that number were hospitalized with serious injuries, Forbes India reported.

In most cases, the response from the bystanders is confusion, rather than the desired response of calling an emergency service and securing the scene of the accident from the crowd.

The victims of such accidents have been receiving insufficient medical care due to insufficient supplies, overcrowded roads, and the lack of pre-hospitalization care.

What happens between an event and the arrival of the ambulance is critical, reports Forbes. Across the world, emergency care experts have been struggling to find a way to send expert help more quickly.

Hatzalah’s network of volunteers and use of technology may be offering the perfect solution.

The organization recruits volunteers, gives them 100 hours of training, and a kit containing medicines and other necessary equipment. When an emergency strikes, the organization locates the volunteer closest to the scene, who then rushes to provide first aid to the victims of the accident. There are 1,700 volunteers across Israel who arrive at the scene within a matter of minutes.

Eli Beer, who founded United Hartzalah, says he is aiming to crunch this number to 90 seconds. 

Mark Gerson, Chairman of United Hatzalah, said that the size and population differences between Israel and India shouldn’t prevent the emergency services from proving effective. The ideal way of implementing such a system, he says, would be to apply it to one city at a time, get the fundamentals right, put the system in place, and scale up over time. 

A bigger challenge in India will be in recruiting volunteers. While Israeli culture is deeply rooted in volunteerism and military and national service, such values are not ingrained in Indian culture.

Yet Beer believes that such discrepancies are not worrisome. “The groundswell of good-hearted people wanting to help their communities is universal,” says Beer. “Given a chance to save a life, who will say no?”

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