21:58 GMT +325 May 2018
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    Ding-a-Ling! Helsinki Wheels Out First Aid on 'MedCycles'

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    Sometimes minutes and even seconds matter. Imagine experiencing a heart attack with an incoming ambulance stuck in a traffic jam. Pretty gruesome, isn't it? Finland intends to solve this problem by launching quick and maneuverable first aid crews on bicycles.

    Finland's capital Helsinki has launched a daring health care experiment. For the sake of speed and accessibility, first aid will arrive to patients by bicycle, which in an urban environment riddled with traffic jams may prove much faster than your ordinary ambulance, only without the emergency flashers and siren.

    The experiment began in Kallio district, where three first aid bicycles initially appeared, the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reported. Bicycle doctors are armed with a basic set of first-aid drugs, simple medical tools, a computer and a walkie-talkie.

    "Sometimes, speed is extremely important. Especially when a heart has stopped," said first aid medic Aapo Granberg, who happens to be a bicycle enthusiast.

    By his own admission, Helsinki took cue from London, where a similar system has been functioning for years. In 2015, medical bikes were first used at a demonstration in Helsinki. They have since supplemented the rescue force on busy occasions.

    The bike itself is a standard mountain bike with an orange frame, reinforced brakes and spokes and extra reflectors, as well as a carrier for heavier loads. Bright lights are used instead of flashers and whistles instead of sirens.

    Needless to say, a bicycle will by no means replace a traditional ambulance, rather working as a supplementary resource. A doctor on two wheels may thus arrive fast and determine whether a classic ambulance is needed to take the patient to hospital.

    The idea is that a medical bike can be the first to arrive to a patient, providing immediate medication and judging whether further assistance is needed. Traditional ambulances may be thus freed for other tasks, since about 40 percent of emergencies are solved with timely medication.

    Last year, the Sodankylä municipality in northern Finland voiced plans to introduce self-service health care kiosks for people living in remote locations. The pop-up medical kiosks will allow users to run blood tests, check blood pressure and heart and lung activity, as well as contact a doctor via a video link.

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    Tags:
    bicycle, medical aid, Scandinavia, Finland
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