Mumbai: The Central Railway (CR) has set up 24x7 Emergency Medical Rooms (EMRs) at five stations spread across its suburban network in the metropolis, which would provide timely medical assistance to rail accident victims as well as commoners at a token charge of Re 1.
This decision came after a Bombay High Court order asking the Railways to set up EMRs at all stations on the Central and Western Line here in a phased manner following a PIL in March by rail activist Samir Zaveri on the issue of lack of prompt medical help in case of accidents on railway tracks.
The five EMRs set up at Dadar, Kurla, Wadala, Mulund and Ghatkopar stations, in association with a city-based medical firm Magicdil Health For All Pvt Ltd, shall begin operations soon.
"The idea to start these EMRs is to provide timely help to rail victims as well as to offer affordable medical consultation to needy masses. Timely medical assistance to accident victims will definitely reduce the number of rail related deaths as well as provide relief to injured passengers," Chief PRO of CR, Narendra Patil said.
All the EMRs will be manned by paramedics and 3-4 MBBS doctors each, who would conduct a health check up and prescribe medicines to victims and masses for Re 1.
However, patients (except for rail accident victims) will have to themselves bear other medical expenses.
"After CR came out with a tender for setting up EMRs at its suburban network, we took part in the bid and bagged it on merit. We have got the contract to operate EMRs at 19 stations for five years and our set up is completely ready to begin work at five stations," said Dr Rahul Ghule from Magicdil.
He said these EMRs would be equipped with all necessary life saving tools and medicines including ECG machines,Ambu bags, Pulse-Oxymeter, Oxygen cylinders etc.
"Accident cases come very rarely and our doctors would be working 24x7. With an aim to provide affordable health for all under the National Health Policy, we thought of serving poor patients at the token cost of Re 1," said Dr Ghule.
The real test of the doctors would be to save lives of rail accident victims in the golden hours, he said.
To recover the cost of setting up these EMRs and the fee of highly qualified doctors, Railways is providing its premises, electricity and water for the purpose. While Magicdil would utilise the space to give personalised treatment to patients.
An expert on Railways and medical issues, Rajiv Singhal said, "It sounds like a fairy tale to serve commoners at Re 1 as it will put financial strain on the EMR operators. However, if doctors are able to save even a single life, then entire the mission would be accomplished."