Government and private hospitals are likely to get an order from the government to give less importance to medico-legal considerations and treat accident victims during ‘golden hour’ to reduce fatality.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath wrote a letter to Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad on May 7 to direct all hospitals to attend to the accident victims without any apprehension. He also wrote to Home Minister P. Chidambaram on the same issue.
The move will be part of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ (RTH) new plan called ‘Cashless Treatment of road accident victims’.
The first hour after injury is called ‘golden hour’ and if medical aid is provided within this time, chance of fatality is reduced. One of the main reasons for high accident-related deaths is because emergency services are not offered by hospitals.
Two months ago, a hospital in Kolkata had allegedly refused to admit a train accident victim. The patient didn’t survive. Another hospital had refused to treat a bleeding patient till his family produced money.
Renowned Peerless Hospital in Kolkata had allegedly refused to admit a 13-year-old girl who had met an accident.
According to the RTH officials, many accident victims die unattended at accident sites. Even if they are taken to a hospital, doctors hesitate to attend such patients as they are treated as medico-legal cases.
A Supreme Court judgment states that accident victims can be transported to the nearest medical centre by anyone and he or she will not be part of any questioning by the police.
“It is seen that the judgment has not been taken seriously either by the police or general public. As a result, a huge number of accident victims continue to succumb to injuries without timely help...,” said Nath in another letter to Chidambaram.
The RTH ministry also felt the need to instruct the police to handle the victims with ‘compassion’ and ‘utmost urgency’.