Accidents and injuries are among the
leading causes of death and disability in the world regardless of age, sex,
income, or geographic region. The 'golden hour' is the critical period of
1 hour after an injury, accident, or trauma.
goal of Emergency Care for trauma patients is to ascertain and treat life-threatening
injuries, and stabilize the patient with emergency interventions such as
fracture immobilization, blood transfusion, assisted breathing, wound closure, ICD
placement, vasopressors, etc. It is promptly followed by detailed evaluation,
investigation, radio-imaging, planning for urgent surgery, or medical
victims should be taken to a well-equipped and properly manned Emergency Medicine
department preferably within the 'golden hour'. During transport, care should
be taken to minimize movement of the spine and injured limbs. It has been
observed that prompt and definitive care within the 'golden hour' gives the
patient the best chance of survival.
The death toll of accident victims in India is staggering >1.4 lakhs
per year. Nearly half of them can be potentially saved if bystanders come
forward to help and move the victim to a hospital. Unfortunately, most accident
and trauma victims do not reach the hospital in time due to the lack of proper
emergency facilities and ambulances in India as well as indifference from the
bystanders. Our citizens are hesitant to help an accident victim to reach a
hospital either for fear of facing financial liabilities or getting intertwined
with the police and legal hassles that are associated with accidents.
Supreme Court of India came up with a landmark guideline in 2016 mentioning
that no 'Good Samaritan' who comes forward voluntarily to help a victim can be
burdened with financial liabilities by the treating hospital nor can be
inducted forcefully into policy and legal issues. The bystander who brings an
accident victim to the hospital can leave the hospital immediately without
disclosing his identity.
the increasing awareness of the 'Good Samaritan Law', we can hope that we will
be able to treat trauma victims within the 'golden hour' and save precious
SANJUKTA DUTTA Head-
Emergency Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Kolkata