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Report No. 201

Chapter II

Current State of Emergency Medical Care and Laws in India

Accidents where victims require emergency medical care are not confined to motor accidents. Emergencies may arise due to motor accidents, fire, floods, cyclone, earthquakes etc. or even sudden collapse of victims or emergent deliveries in pregnancy.

Among these, road accidents, however, contribute the largest number of deaths or injuries. These accidents are increasing at an alarming rate of 3% annually. About 10.1% of all deaths in India are due to accidents and injuries. A vehicular accident is reported every 3 minutes and a death, every 10 minutes on our records. During 1998, nearly, 80,000 lives were lost and 330,000 people were injured. Of these, 78% were persons in the age group of 20-44 years.

A trauma-related death occurs in India every 1.9 minutes. The majority of road accident victims are pedestrians, two wheeler riders and bicyclists, passengers by motor vehicles, as cited in the paper (2006) submitted by Ms. Shradd Deshmukh, ILS, Law College, Pune on 'Emergency Medical Aid to Victims', to the Law Commission.

The World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention released by the WHO on World Health Day (7th April, 2004) stated that around 12 lakh people die each year on account of accidents globally.

In the year 2004, the National Human Rights Commission constituted an Expert Group to study the existing system for emergency medical care in India to suggest appropriate methods of emergency medical care, which should be developed by different States/Union-Territories and their essential components. The Group submitted a Report on 7 th April 2004.

It reviewed the existing scenario and the Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (ATS) and stated that nearly 4 lakh persons loose their lives annually due to injuries, nearly 75 lakh persons are hospitalized and three and half lakh persons who receive minor injuries get emergency care at various places in India. However, present Emergency Medical Support (EMS) in the country is functioning sub-optimally and requires upgradation.

The Report revealed the lacunae, which exist in the present EMS and made a number of recommendations for implementation in the short term and in the long-run. These recommendations were sent to the Health Services and the States and UTs. (Medical Relief to Road Accident Victims submitted by Devanshi Nijhara, ILS Law College Pune, to the Law Commission). Text of full Report of NHRC titled "Emergency Medical Services in India - Present Status and Recommendations for Improvement" is published in 'Journal of the National Human Rights Commission' vol.3, 2004.

Government of India has accorded permission for the establishment of 100 Emergency Accident Relief Centres in all the National Highways/State Highways at a distance of 50 km each to give timely first aid to accident victims and to arrange for further medical treatment in hospitals. This is a unique programme implemented by the Government jointly with private hospitals, sponsors etc. Out of the 100 centres targeted, 77 are now functioning.

Among the centres now functioning, 41 are fully financed by private hospitals and institutions while the remaining 36 are partly sponsored by the Government and provide a monthly support of Rs.40,000/- or the actual expenditure incurred by these sponsors (not exceeding Rs. 40,000/- . During the year 2004, with timely medical aid, these centres are said to have saved 19,595 lives, treated 6,400 serious injured cases and 13,195 persons with minor injuries. (ibid, Devanshi Nijhara's Paper).

Emergency Medical Care to Victims of Accidents and during Emergency Medical Condition and Women under Labour Back

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