Police, journalists can reduce road accident deaths

Monday, November 22, 2010

NEW DELHI - Police and journalists can help reduce by nearly half deaths and serious brain injuries caused by road accidents — if only they learnt the basic medicare, experts here said Monday.

Police and journalists play a major role as first responders in case of road accidents. They are the first to reach an accident site, and can save the patient from a severe traumatic brain injury and even death, Rajendra Prasad of the Indraprastha Apollo hospital here said.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 118,000 people died in road accidents in India in 2008. This amounted to nearly 320 deaths a day.

If professionals from these two sections are trained to give the most basic care to a road accident victim, nearly 50 percent of brain-injury deaths caused by road accidents can be reduced, said Prasad, who is also the executive director of the Indian Head Injury Foundation (IHRF).

Only 15-20 percent of brain injuries require neurosurgeons, while most can be handled by a physician or a trained person, if handled properly, the experts said.

The first hour of a brain injury caused by road accidents is considered the ‘golden hour’, when the first responder can not only save a life, but also prevent him from a severe traumatic brain injury, said Steven Flanagan, chairman at the department of rehabilitation medicine at the Rusk institute in New York.

Traumatic brain injuries range from minor to severe, sometimes leaving a patient crippled for his entire life.

The experts stressed upon the need to overcome the acute shortage of trained paramedical staff, ambulances and doctors in the country.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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