Road accidents: awareness vital

It is extremely sad and disturbing that one more instance of the bystanders clicking photos and shooting videos of a critically wounded person on road, instead of immediately rushing him to hospital, has emerged from Koppal in Karnataka.

That the life of 18-year-old Anwar Ali Ekalaspur, who was knocked down from his bicycle by a speeding bus, may have been saved had he received immediate medical attention makes it all the more tragic. A precious 30 minutes and a huge amount of blood had been lost before Anwar was taken to a hospital not more than a couple of minutes away, and he passed away some four hours later. It is heart-rending to know that Anwar had dropped out of school and started working to help his mother Ramzanbi, and the education of three of his siblings. The government and the local leaders should go to poor Ramzanbi’s help to pull their lives together. Another instance similar to Anwar’s has come from Yadgir, though the bike rider has luckily survived.

Instead of merely berating such callous and inhuman attitude among the public, there is an urgent need to create awareness that almost 50% of the accident victims have excellent chances of survival if they get immediate attention and treatment. In most accident cases, bystanders or strangers will be in the best position to render help, and the awareness campaign should focus on instilling in them a sense of kinship with the victims. They should also be made to realise that when their own friends or relatives become accident victims, there will be other Good Samaritans to help their dear ones in their hour of need. Considering the amount of hardship and trauma that accidents cause, the benefits of such conscious inter-dependence are incalculable.

Following the death of Harish Nanjappa (26), another road rage victim on Bengaluru-Tumakuru road last year, who movingly expressed his last wish to the ambulance driver to donate his organs, Karnataka has come up with an excellent scheme to help accident victims. Under the Mukhyamantri Santvana Harish Yojana, anyone near the accident site can call helpline 108 or 104 for ambulance, and the victim will be taken to the nearest hospital for emergency treatment free of cost. Hospitals are required to make admission irrespective of whether it is a medico-legal case and the government will reimburse the cost of treatment up to Rs 25,000. A large number of people have been benefiting from this scheme, which, of course, needs more publicity. Another initiative taken by the Karnataka government is to protect Good Samaritans from incurring any civil or criminal liability for rendering emergency care at the accident site. The state governor should immediately give his approval to the Bill in this regard as it is pending with him.

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