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Fortis holds awareness program on Good Samaritan Law for trauma management

Date : August 26, 2016

Road traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths all over the world and are slated to become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. One of the prime reasons is Genovese Syndrome or Bystander effect.

It is keeping in mind these developments and conflicts, that Fortis Hospital, Anandapur today organised a day-long public awareness programme “ALERT Kolkata: Accidents & Law: Emergency Response & Treatment” on the Good Samaritan Law to encourage bystanders to help accident victims.

Good Samaritan Law is a judgment passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 30th March 2016, that protects the bystanders who help accident victims and take them to the hospital from unnecessary detention, intimidation by police and legal hassles.

“If awareness about this landmark judgment percolates deep into the society, we hope that many lives may be saved every day. Kitty Genovese was murdered on the road of New York in 1964 with people watching, but no one coming to her aid. This gave rise to the study of Bystander Effect that states that the probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. Hence this effort,” said Mr Samir Singh, Zonal Director, Fortis Healthcare Ltd.

One of the prime reasons why people don’t help is because of the hassle that comes with it. However, this law could change things to a great extent. In India the situation is no less alarming. As per the law commission 2,07,551 people died on Indian roads in 2015 alone. According to Dr Sanjukta Dutta, Consultant and Head, Emergency Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Kolkata the number of people killed in West Bengal is a staggering 51.4 per 100 accidents which is the fourth highest in the country. Half of these deaths could have been avoided by timely assistance and proper intervention. Sadly, this does not happen, as three out of four people are hesitant to help accident victims.

With this directive in mind Department of Emergency Medicine, Fortis Hospital Kolkata and Society for Emergency Medicine India have come together to raise an awareness programme on the law. It will also have workshops and skill stations for both medicos and non-medicos about proper Golden Hour Trauma management. The highlight of the program is a panel discussion on the Good Samaritan law attended by eminent personalities of Kolkata, Government officials, Kolkata police representatives and the Judiciary.

Note on Good Samaritan Law : In response to a writ petition filed by Save Life Foundation to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in 2012 and subsequent submission of Skandan Committee report in 2014, the highest judicial body directed the Government of India to issue necessary directions with regard to the protection of rights of the Good Samaritan.

Following this the Government of India issued a notification in the official gazette on 13th May 2015 to affirm that a Good Samaritan:

  1. Shall not face civil and criminal liability.
  2. Shall not be subject to questioning and the disclosure of personal information unless provided voluntarily.
  3. Shall not be detained in hospital for any reason.
  4. Methods of examination of Good Samaritan have also been laid down to ensure avoidance of undue harassment 

On 30th March 2016 the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India passed a landmark judgment laying down that the guidelines issued by Government of India will be binding on all States and Union Territories under Article 141 of the Constitution of India. The Hon’ble court held that the guidelines have the force of law and directed the government to widely publicize the guidelines for the benefit of the public.

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