Law to deal with trauma could help prevent lakhs of deaths in India: SaveLIFE Foundation report

An NGO has sought a legislation, the Right to Emergency Medical Care Act, to establish agencies, systems, and protocols to deal with medical emergency situations throughout India.

Updated - October 22, 2023 01:43 pm IST

Published - October 18, 2023 07:18 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The report by the NGO states that there are multiple emergency response numbers, including 108, 102, 1073, and 1033, which cause confusion among the first responders when dealing with emergencies. 

The report by the NGO states that there are multiple emergency response numbers, including 108, 102, 1073, and 1033, which cause confusion among the first responders when dealing with emergencies.  | Photo Credit: File Photo

A designated universal helpline for medical emergencies, properly-staffed emergency response vehicles, and well-trained emergency medical technicians can help save the lives of lakhs of people in the country who die due to lack of medical attention every year, SaveLIFE Foundation, an NGO dedicated to enhancing road safety and emergency medical care, has said in a report.

The NGO has sought a legislation, the Right to Emergency Medical Care Act, to establish agencies, systems, and protocols to deal with medical emergency situations throughout India.

‘Preventable deaths’

Currently, India does not have a law guaranteeing emergency medical care as a right. The Supreme Court had held that Article 21 (Protection of Life and Personal Liberty) of the Constitution casts an obligation on the authorities to preserve life.

However, the apex court’s judgement neither prescribes the basic standards to deal with various medical emergency cases nor state any punitive measure for medical facilities that violate a trauma victim’s right to life.

A 2021 NITI Aayog report on ‘Emergency and Injury Care at District Hospitals in India’ remarked, “90% of ambulances don’t have any equipment/oxygen, 95% of ambulances have untrained personnel, most emergency departments doctors have no formal training in emergency medical services, and 30% of the deaths occur due to delay in emergency care.”

Need for an Act

In its report, the NGO has proposed the development of programmes with a standardised curriculum and certifications to train citizens in large numbers in the basic skills needed to manage emergency medical situations.

It has also suggested that the Right to Emergency Care Act may expand the scope of the Good Samaritan law, which rewards people who provide immediate assistance to victims of road accidents, to include all kinds of trauma cases.

The report also says that there are currently multiple emergency response numbers, including 108, 102, 1073, and 1033, which cause confusion among the first responders when dealing with emergencies.

It has proposed that the Home Ministry implement its proposal to make 112 the single response number for emergency assistance from Police, Fire and Rescue, Health, and other services.

It also advocated for a law under which hospitals would be forbidden from refusing to admit patients without providing them with basic care.

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