Friday, April 24, 2009

Medical Emergencies in Schools????

Akkriti Bhatia's death has raised another most depressing issue that is existing in the society today. Schools being not equipped to handle medical emergencies. As a parent whose teen is in school, I have all concerns of wanting to know how far my kid's school is equipped to handle medical emergencies. It can be of any kind, accidents, unexpected illness, allergy or a critical emergency. Just at the starting of the annual exams, my kid called me to inform that one of her classmates had fits and teachers rushed him to the nearby hospital. It is the common sense and presence of mind that saved the 10 year old. Had the school waited with an usual call to the parents, and then the parents rushing from their work place and then take a call whether to rush to a hospital, would have costed the child's life like in Akkriti's case. I appreciate the immediate action taken by St. Brito's Academy Velachery in taking a swift action to save a child in a medical emergency.
Policies of not letting kids go out of the school without all required approvals, or parents coming in personally to take their wards home in times of sickness can all be considered based on the kind of emergency that is in hand.
Few things that can avoid such incidents to happen:
1. Train all teachers and staff of schools on how to handle medical emergencies - Approach the Organization ALERT which trains on handling such tiring situations
2. Have first aid medical kits in every class room.
3. Ensure proper ventilation and fresh air in classrooms.
4. Easy the processes in case of medical emergencies and the school vans can be used to rush the child to a nearest medical help
5. There should be a doctor on call or a equipped medical room with a nurse to manage situations in schools which do not have hospitals in the closest proximity
6. Sports and Games sessions to be avoided in hot sun and soon after lunch intervals
7. Periodical medical checkups to be conducted by schools and parents - In fact, I am happy that Brito's does that.
8. In cases where a child has a history of some ailment, the basic necessary support like inhalers, or a insulin tablet or an aspirin or what ever is relevant to be made mandatory available in the child's school bag.
9. School management should take responsibility of handling a medical emergency till the parents arrive.
10. Every teacher should realise that every student is a child to some parent like them.
Unless and until the schools and parents equally understand the importance of not getting panicked but instead are aware to handle an medical emergency, am sure such incidents will not happen. As long as we give importance to the "One Golden Hour" that is crucial, and on how we will handle those few moments we have to save a life, we can save lives
Please look into the website "" and approach the volunteers in case your school needs a training on basic first aid practices and emergency response that can save lives.

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