Mumbai: Here's an app that will come in handy during an emergency

A new app for ambulances has become a hit with Mumbaikars, garnering 1,200 users within a few weeks of its launch

Whether or not you have gone through the hassle of booking an ambulance in times of distress or emergency or found yourself in the middle of an instance where the ambulance failed to reach you on time or didn't show up at all, this news is for you.

Mumbai's first app-based ambulance aggregating platform — DIAL 4242 — that allows users to book the ambulance nearest to their location instantly was launched a month back and has been gaining traction among people in the city.

An idea is born
Its director and co-founder Jeetendra Lalwani said they have tied up with several hospitals in the city, and currently, have around 200 ambulances. "The app took birth after my dad's illness last year. I had to call for an ambulance regularly as he was admitted four times over a couple of months. Not only would the ambulances not reach on time, but also the prices would differ," he added.

Dadar resident Samar Thorat (26), on the other hand, downloaded the app as his grandparents stay with him, and hence, "it might come in handy".

Borivli resident Pankaj Jajodia (31) turned to the app after a few unpleasant experiences — one of being overcharged by a private ambulance — and now swears by it. He recently booked one via the app for his father, a liver cirrhosis patient, to transport him from Bombay Hospital to the airport.

Expert point of view
Medical experts, however, have mixed views on this. Dr Rita Savla, founder-director of RADHEE Disaster and Education Foundation, said ambulance apps are very useful, but it also depends on the service they provide and the number of ambulances registered with them.

Dr Altaf Patel, former professor at JJ Hospital, isn't in complete agreement though. "Ambulance apps won't resolve the core issue completely, as different service providers have different emergency numbers, and due to the traffic problem in the city, users might still have to wait a long time before an ambulance reaches them," he said.

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