'Spotters' identified and treated injured and ill Mumbai marathon runners

20 doctors were entrusted with the responsibility of spotting runners who were facing complications and treating them immediately; the team was stationed near the finish line, since the end of a race is the toughest

While the Mumbai Marathon this year witnessed nearly 4,000 people who needed medical assistance, a new concept of ‘spotters’ ensured the injured and ill participants were attended to. In earlier editions of the race, the runners had to be noticed by police, bystanders, or volunteers; this time, however, a team of 20 doctors was stationed precisely for this purpose.

The team of spotters ensured those who suffered complications or sustained injuries received immediate medical treatment. Pic/Atul Kamble
The team of spotters ensured those who suffered complications or sustained injuries received immediate medical treatment. Pic/Atul Kamble

According to the doctors from Asian Heart Institute (AHI), the medical partner for the event, most people face complications like nausea, cramps, dehydration near the finish line – the end of the race is considered to be the toughest. Hence, the spotters readied themselves at regular intervals in the last mile of the race.

A participant is helped by fellow runners and volunteers. Pic/Sameer Markande
A participant is helped by fellow runners and volunteers. Pic/Sameer Markande

These doctors said a lot of patients were spotted as soon as they started facing complications on the track, and managed to receive proper treatment.

Kirit Ganatra, one such man who lost consciousness and suffered a severe head injury, was spotted by one of the doctors. “Our team of doctors noticed most of the patients and rushed them to the (base) camps immediately. In the case of Ganatra, Dr Ashish K spotted him losing consciousness on Hazarimal Somani Marg.

He was given CPR and then rushed to Bombay Hospital, where he remains serious,” said Dr. Vijay D’Silva, medical director and director of critical care, Asian Heart Institute. Doctors from Bombay Hospital said that only a CT scan would reveal how well Ganatra is coping, since he sustained a head injury and remains on a ventilator in the ICU of the hospital.

Spot on
Marathon veterans lauded the spotters, saying injuries went unnoticed in the past because nobody had been assigned this special duty. “Amidst the running crowd, it was always difficult to spot the ones who were getting injured. It was policemen and volunteers who also managed the crowd and moving ambulances who took care of the patients.

But this year, the doctors were assigned this task so they could know who is facing complications,” said Sachin Mhatre (38), a businessman who has been participating for the past five years. Apart from Ganatra, the spotters also managed to get immediate treatment for four people who sustained fractures, and a runner with fever who lost consciousness while approaching the finish line.

The team of doctors spotted almost all of the 14 people who had to be hospitalised for general oral dehydration, cramps, physiotherapy, and nausea. One of these was admitted to Saifee Hospital, one at Lilavati Hospital and the rest were taken to Bombay Hospital. Nine people were discharged yesterday.

The medical team for the race

485
Doctors, nurses, paramedical and support staff

12
12 medical aid stations for first-aid

6
6 medics on motorcycles

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