Say yes to helmets: One should not wait for authorities to make helmet compulsory, urges mishap survivor

Pratik Gatlewar from Chandrapur, is a survivor who has realised the importance of wearing a helmet early on in life

pune Updated: Nov 27, 2018 16:57 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Lohegaon,Chandrapur
Pratik Gatlewar (HT PHOTO)

Pratik Gatlewar, an MBA student (25) from Chandrapur, is a survivor who has realised the importance of wearing a helmet early on in life. “I reside in Lohegaon, but I am originally from Chandrapur and belong to a lower middle-class family. In the last week of August, me and two of my friends chose to undertake a long ride on a weekend and eat at a local eatery (dhaba) on the Pune-Satara highway. It was raining heavily and we stepped out of the eatery after the rains stopped, but unfortunately all three of us were riding together on one motorbike and we fell down when we encountered a huge pothole on the road. The sudden fall caused severe injury to me and also left my two friends injured. We were admitted to the Sahyadri hospital, wherein I underwent two surgeries craniotomy and cranioplasty,” Gatlewar said.

Gatlewar now believes that if he had worn a helmet that day, he would not have suffered such a serious head injury. “I was admitted to the hospital for over a month and even after the discharge, I am still in a recovery phase, he said.

“One should always wear a helmet while riding two-wheelers and not wait for the authorities to implement it as a rule. It provides protection and should not be taken lightly,” added Gatlewar.

Survivors give ridiculous reasons for not wearing helmet, says Dr Ranjit Deshmukh

In the last 25 years, Sahyadri Hospital has seen a varied number of high intensity cases and a large number of accident victims. Of the accident victims, many were two-wheeler accident cases. The hospital had even started a campaign in 2015, wherein they had distributed helmets to the public, to promote road safety.

Dr Ranjit Deshmukh, trauma unit head at Sahyadri hospital, who has been associated with the hospital for over 25 years, said, “After seeing high intensity cases and a huge number of patients, I always wanted to know what caused these patients to risk their lives and ride without protecting their heads. To understand the mortality and morbidity rate of such accident and trauma cases, unfortunately, there is no survey, but I wanted to know the resistance towards helmets; hence I asked some of my patients who were accident victims. There were many absurd reasons which had no explanation.”

Sharing the same, Dr Deshmukh, said, “Some said helmets are too heavy, some said it leads to spondylitis, some said it affected their hairstyle. Besides this, we also observed that in an accident, mostly the pillion rider compared to the main rider is often affected more and receives more injury. The reason is that the pillion rider is often seated sideways while the main rider gets a hint of getting hit, they jumps off the two-wheeler, but the pillion rider is left unprepared and receives multiple injuries. Hence, it is important to not only make helmet compulsory for the rider, but also for the pillion rider.”

Also, as compared to other organs, brain tissue is delicate and does not regrow so the brain cells that are lost due to an injury are lost forever. Hence, people should understand that an accident leading to a brain injury will cost them severely, said Deshmukh.

On asking how many admissions due to two-wheeler accidents are seen at the hospital, Deshmukh, said, “The number often varies. Sometimes we see three to four cases in one night and that too critical, whereas, sometimes the number can be anywhere between one or two cases per day but there is not a single day when an accident case is not admitted.”

While talking about the situation, Deshmukh said, “Helmet wearing riders are often seen disciplined compared to those who do not wear one. It is important to enforce this rule if we want to reduce brain injuries, dependency, disability and also sudden deaths,” he said.

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 14:45 IST