What should people do when they come across a road accident victim?
Should they rush the victim to the nearest hospital and endure the hassles of police and hospital authorities or is there any other way to save precious lives?
According to Superintendent, Osmania General Hospital (OGH), Dr. K. Ram Das, the ideal situation is for public to immediately alert 108 services. “The 108 personnel are authorised to admit unknown accident victims to the casualty. They have the required expertise to handle such situations,” he suggests.
But what happens if the 108 service is not available immediately? “Then public can take the patient to the hospital casualty. But at any cost, treatment to the accident victim can’t be delayed just because persons accompanying the injured are afraid to be identified,” he hastens to add.
Problem starts when hospital security, ward boys, nurses, doctors and police start posing uncomfortable questions to those volunteering to bring accident victims to the hospital. These gruelling questions tend to intimidate those trying to help. The ward boys and hospital security doubt the ‘integrity’ of such persons. Unwilling to get caught in the official red tape, most hesitate to get involved.
According to set protocols, when medico-legal cases, like road accidents, are brought to casualty, the first step for doctors is to give treatment. After that, the duty doctor prepares an ‘MLC’ (Medico-Legal Case) book in which the persons who brought the victim have to sign in the ‘brought by’ column.
The duty nurse at the casualty has to alert the nearest police station. By the time police reach the casualty, usually, persons who have brought the victims tend to run out of patience and panic.
Senior doctors maintain that strangers who take the trouble to take accident victims to the hospital should not be harassed.
“There is a definite perception among public that they will be harassed if they try to help accident victims. The admission process at the casualty should be friendly and saving the life of the patient should be the top priority,” feels former vice-chairman, A.P. Medical Council, Dr. K. Ramesh Reddy.