BENGALURU: A Bengaluru-based software engineer, who struggled to arrange medical emergency services for his sister, has turned his personal experience into a mission to help save lives. Praveen Gowda has set up a company, VMEDO, which has so far trained over 5,000 people to administer first aid before proper medical aid arrives.
Gowda’s thinking in the direction began three years ago when he faced a challenging situation at home. “My sister needed emergency blood and we couldn’t avail it on time. The entire family went through a sense of helplessness for almost half an hour till the ambulance reached us,” he says. “Keeping these things in mind, I decided that I have to do something so that at least others don’t face a similar situation.”
Gowda began with an app called Blood For Sure for arranging blood. The positive response received by it prompted him to launch a service for arranging ambulance too.
“But even after all this, I kept feeling that we were lacking something. I realised that maybe we need to be doctors ourselves before emergency services are available. That’s when I decided to get trained professionals to teach people the basics of first aid along with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR),” Gowda says.
“Millions of people lose their lives due to various other medical emergencies. But studies show that over 40 per cent of the deaths can be prevented if basic first aid is delivered within the golden hour,” Gowda explains. “With this motto, we felt that we could save millions of lives if the common man is trained in first aid. Even basic knowledge can make the difference between life and death.”
Gowda’s office at JP Nagar has about 10 professional trainers and several doctors on call who not only hold training sessions for people but also provide video assistance to the needy. The company conducts workshops and training sessions for corporates as well as individuals in Bengaluru. In the last three years, they have trained over 5,000 Individuals in apartment complexes, schools, colleges and more than 50 firms.
The training is imparted by personnel trained by the NSC (National Safety Council) in first aid, CPR and accident emergency. The training also includes sessions in risk assessment and fire control. Besides providing hands-on knowledge, the workshops also make people more conscious about the role they can play, says Gowda.
“There are times when we see someone fainting in the apartment or someone injured in an accident. But many of us don’t even stop to see what has happened, perhaps out of a feeling of inadequacy. However, with the knowledge of first aid and CPR, you immediately jump into action, not even giving it a second thought,” he adds, recounting how he gets at least one call every month from someone who wants to thank the team for making them feel like a hero.
Why learn CPR
This is what a cardiac arrest means: Heart has unexpectedly and suddenly stopped functioning, preventing effective supply of blood, and therefore oxygen to the brain. This causes the patient to lose consciousness and stop breathing. If untreated, the lack of blood supply to the brain could lead to severe brain damage and possibly, even death. This is where CPR comes in handy. If you are trained in CPR, you may be able to save the life of a person who has suffered a cardiac arrest.
Each CPR class involves 15-20 trainees. The oldest trainee so far has been a 70-year-old while the youngest 14. Participants are split into groups, and each group is assigned a mannequin. Praveen says, “In a group environment, people learn from each other.” The trainer teaches compressions-only or hands-only CPR and starts the class by explaining the theory behind CPR and then moves on to a practical session. By the end of the class, each attendee has had at least four attempts administering CPR on a dummy mannequin.