Bengaluru, DHNS: The State government is planning to institute the ‘Jeeva Rakshaka’ (lifesaver) award to honour good Samaritans who help accident victims get timely treatment, Minister for Health and Family Welfare U T Khader has said.
The award will be given to individuals as well as hospital staff members, he said at the World Tuberculosis Day event at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) on Thursday.
Besides, the government is also contemplating bringing a ‘Good Samaritan Act’ to protect people who help accident victims. The law will protect good Samaritans from police harassment, detention at hospitals and prolonged formalities.
A?draft of the law has already been prepared, with the help of Save LIFE Foundation, a Delhi-based nonprofit whose petition in the Supreme Court prompted the Centre to notify guidelines on protecting good Samaritans. The draft is based on the guidelines notified by the Union government on May 13, 2015.
Piyush Tewari, founder, Save LIFE Foundation, said they were urging various state governments to enact the law. “The Union government has done its bit by notifying the guidelines. Since health is a state subject, state governments have to be proactive in framing laws to protect the rights of those who help accident victims,” he told Deccan Herald. “Karnataka is one of the states with a large number of accidents. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 44,696 accidents in 2011.”
Tewari recalled last month’s gruesome accident involving Harish Nanjappa, whose body was cut into half after a truck struck him, and lamented that nobody came up to help him. He said it was important to reduce the time between an accident and when a victim is taken to hospital. The Karnataka government has been proactive as it launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish Scheme’ which offers free treatment to accident victims.
But it’s also important to ensure the victims reach hospital within the Golden Hour. Bystanders may help if the law protects them, he added.
The Centre’s guidelines state that a bystander or good Samaritan who might be an eyewitness of a road accident should be allowed to leave immediately after furnishing address and no question shall be asked of them. Besides, state governments should reward or compensate the bystander to encourage them to help the accident victims.
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