Thursday, 2 February 2017


From the Desk of Sagar Galwankar, MD, FACEE, Diplomat. ABEM (USA)

There is a lot of media discussion about the death of a Road Traffic Trauma Victim on the road without being helped by bystanders in Karnataka.

Additionally exactly a week ago this very media was abuzz covering the story of an Anesthetist who gave CPR to a patient at Mumbai airport and saved a life.

A Tale of two Cities, Same Scenarios where a patient needed help and two different actions.

One saved the life one did not.

This left me thinking about the challenges for bystanders to act as good Samaritans.

About the Road Traffic Incident:

With all International brands of cars on the modern Indian roads and the affordability quotient of masses on the high … car speed has become the major factor on buying car.
Unlike the other world…where car safety is criteria for car buying… in India design and speed are the major factors for car sales in India. 

There are 4 lanes to 6 lanes highways, there are international branded cars and there are our Indian drivers who have the least disregard for other drivers or pedestrians.  Coupled with that is the gross APATHY of the masses to just not respond to trauma victims lying on the roads.

I was traveling in India recently and in a city I saw a crash happen in front of my eyes. A driver was driving his imported car and it crashed into a motor cycle being driven by a Non Helmeted rider. It was an accident because the motor cycle skid and came in front of the car and the rider got head injury. The rider was awake and bleeding but what happened next ?

People gathered and started beating up the driver who had stopped, gotten out of the car and picked the rider and put him in his car and was taking him to the hospital. The first response of the by standers was the Driver in Car must have made the mistake …… Hammer the driver.

No one cared about the VICTIM ?

This is a wrong behavior which needs to be changed. The thought that Car Drivers have more money so they can afford cars and if they are in a crash it’s their fault so take justice into their hands and forget the patient is absolutely wrong. Forgetting the patient is just wrong.

This leads to the phenomenon of drivers running away after hitting other pedestrians / vehicles. If anyone wants to take the crash victims to the hospital they will not and just run away because they don’t want to face the mob mentality.

And the mob does nothing except to stare in majority of the cases. There are many cases when mobs do act….Well they should act always.

In many of my public events where I was called to inaugurate Road Safety and Basic Emergency Care Training programs I ask one question: What do you do when you see a crash on the road?

The truthful answer I get is: we don’t stop because we don’t want to get involved with the Mob or the Police. 

Why are we as citizens afraid of doing the right thing? 

Police will not bother you if you helped a bleeding victim. There is no use of learning Basic Life support courses if you don’t have the intent to help someone in need. We still are far from having EMS within minutes so the cars and bystanders are the first responders and hence going to a hospital which has 24/7 Emergency Care with Radiology and Laboratory Back up is the first important step after stabilizing the airway c spine and stopping the bleeding. 

Focusing on the Injured is very important and that’s a First.

We have crowded cities and vast rural corridors. 

We have lack of space for pedestrians to walk that’s why they walk on roads. 

We have high speed corridors going through rural area without crossings, overhead bridges or barricades. 

This is all there because development and infrastructure are in a mismatch. 

What we can match is our behavior. 

The government has constituted the good Samaritan act. Even though this has happened the myth that helping a trauma victim will invite undue involvement with the law continues to haunt the Indian bystander.

There are innumerable factors which are related to driving behaviors, road designs and traffic cultures. There are a multitude of factors related to legal crackdown upon road killers and the various agencies trying to institute safer roads and discipline violating drivers.

That is not in question here.

The question is “How do we change the GROSS INDIFFERENCE OF THE MASSES”

About the Mumbai CPR Saving Incident:

The CPR was provided by a trained anesthetist.
The media was abuzz.

The lesson learnt should have been

CPR Training at every level is a must. That is what media should have advocated.

AED across the nation is what should have been advocated.

Bystander RESCUE is crucial to saving lives for individual patients and in disasters.


The vehicle industry and the road traffic license departments have to take a lead role in education and regulation of behavior of travelers. Just selling vehicles and issuing licenses is not the only responsibility. 

Changing our behavior and educating the masses is the key.

We should be responsible and always remember the INJURED IS ALWAYS FIRST !

INDUSEM has launched the Jan Suraksha Abhiyan on Injury Prevention which compliments the Prime Ministers Jan Suraksha Bima Yojana on Insurance of Accidents and Injured victim.

1 comment:

  1. I knew Dr. Sagar for last four years and his initiatives has lead to good research studies as well as collaboration among premier medical, technical and management institutes and addressing emergency care delivery and suggesting policy and operational measures.