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Hospitals flooded with accident cases

Almost half of the trauma cases Delhi hospitals receive, are those from road accidents, if one goes by data collected from the Capital's largest health care facilities.

delhi Updated: Jan 10, 2010 23:53 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

Almost half of the trauma cases Delhi hospitals receive, are those from road accidents, if one goes by data collected from the Capital's largest health care facilities.

Statistics from the Jai Prakash Narayan (JPN) Trauma Centre, the emergency wing of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, for instance, show that of the

48, 000 trauma cases it received in 2008, 24, 000 were road accident cases.

Not only do the accidents constitute tragedies in their own right, they also translate into stress on an already overburdened health care system.

The AIIMS emergency wing, for example, receives an average of 150 accident cases daily, while nearby Safdurjung hospital gets 200 such cases every day.

“Almost 3 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Produce (GDP) is spent on treating accident victims, which is the same or more of the country's health budget allocation,” says Dr M.C. Mishra, chief, JPN Trauma Centre, AIIMS.

Doctors believe many of these accidents could have been averted by simple safety precautions, and they have numbers to back their opinion.

“A good 50 per cent of these accidents were bike riders. Still revealing is the fact that of these 99 per cent were those without helmets,” says Dr Mishra.

Statistics suggest almost 60 per cent accident cases are those riding bikes — of which 25 per cent are those riding pillion.

“In most cases of bike-related trauma cases , the victim was without a helmet or wearing an inadequate helmet, such as the hard hats worn at construction sites. In many instances, the victim hadn't strapped the helmet properly,” says Dr Amit Banerjee, medical superintendent at Lok Nayak hospital, which receives an average of 1,200 accident cases monthly.

Doctors say more rigorous punishment for traffic offenders could help prevent most of the average 6,752 accidents that take place on Delhi roads daily.

“Drink driving is big problem, but not wearing a helmet, using beam lights in normal course, not having reflectors on the back of vehicles, speeding in city limits and using broken number plates are a much bigger problem,” said Dr Banerjee.

“Penalising traffic offenders religiously will not only generate revenue for the police and the government but will also bring down the burden of trauma cases on government hospitals tremendously,” said Dr Mishra.