Written by Alvin D’Souza
You are awakened in the middle of the night with the sounds of your loved one gasping for breath….for a minute you are disoriented and do not know what is happening. You pull yourself together and decide to take action to save the person you love and cherish for so many years. You decide to take him to the hospital immediately.
In the dead of the night, you find a rickshaw and request him to go to the nearest hospital. You only hope that it isn’t too late!! You are constantly praying and reassuring yourself that everything will be fine.
You reach the hospital only to be told that there is no bed available. You plead and beg, but they turn you away and tell you to go somewhere else.
Now panicking, you take the same rickshaw to another hospital, all the while losing precious minutes that make the difference between life and death for your loved one. On the way to the other hospital, he gives up, unable to hold on to life any longer. He goes limp in your arms and your worst nightmare has come true!!!
These are stories that one gets to hear often in urban areas like Mumbai.
If people have access to real time information on availability of vacant ICU beds and Blood, then in emergency situations, medical care can be provided at the earliest and crucial time can be saved in the first hour after the emergency. “
Project HERO was conceptualized with the vision to save those crucial minutes in the golden hour during personal and mass emergencies that can be the difference between life and death.
Project Hero (Helpline for emergency response operations) will provide real time information on the availability of ICU beds and blood in hospitals and blood banks respectively. The information will be received from all hospitals and blood banks on the Hero central database which can be accessed through the website, helpline, sms and mobile app.
India boasts of IT companies like Wipro, Infosys, TCS etc. but it’s sad that we do not have an automated system that will provide information on emergency medical services. A project like Hero will help the millions of citizens of this country who find themselves in situations where they have to run from pillar to post to find information about available ICU beds and/or blood. As a country we are unable to handle disasters let alone planning for disaster management. Hero will be an important component of the disaster management and preparedness system.
Building partnerships and moving ahead
Our technology partner Inscripts has provided pro bono support in the development of the HERO database, HERO web app and the HERO website. The HERO web app will help us to get data from private hospitals. Hero has also received support from the Indian Medical Association, Mumbai branch as they have recognized the need for it.
We are currently in the process of preparing for the launch of HERO with the ‘herohelpline’ website in the first week of August. We have received support from 7 private hospitals who have agreed to share information on the availability of ICU beds and the data will go live to the public with the launch. By the end of this year we envision to get at least 25 private hospitals to join us in our endeavor to save lives.
We hope this project is successful in saving lives which are otherwise lost due to lack of information.