Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Good Samaritans and the law

Over 50 percent of those who die in road accidents can be saved with timely medical care within the first one hour.

To enable bystanders to come forward and help injured persons, the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement, incorporated the guidelines for the protection of Good.

In the absence of an efficient emergency medical services (EMS) system in India, bystanders can play a crucial role in ensuring that a road accident victim gets immediate help within the ‘golden hour’ period.

Your rights as a Good Samaritan

A bystander or Good Samaritan shall not face any civil and criminal liability arising out of helping a road accident victim.

A Good Samaritan, who informs the police or emergency services for the person lying injured on the road, shall not be compelled to reveal his name and personal details on the phone or in person.

Disclosure of personal information of the Good Samaritan in the Medico Legal Case (MLC) form provided by hospitals shall be voluntary.

Disciplinary or departmental action shall be initiated by the Government concerned against public officials who coerce or intimidate a bystander or Good Samaritan for revealing his name or personal details.

A Good Samaritan who has voluntarily stated that he is also an eyewitness to the accident shall be examined on a single occasion and the State Government shall develop standard operating procedures to ensure that bystander or Good Samaritan is not harassed or intimidated.

Video conferencing may be used extensively during examination of bystander or Good Samaritan including eye-witnesses in order to prevent harassment and inconvenience to Good Samaritans.

In case a Good Samaritan so desires, the hospital shall provide an acknowledgement confirming that an injured person was brought to the hospital to such GoodSamaritan.

Karnataka became the first State to introduce Good Samaritan Bill in the state assembly. This Bill, drafting of which was supported by SaveLIFE Foundation, aims to provide protection to Good Samaritans, who come to the aid of victims of road accident and other emergency situations, from ensuing legal and procedural hassles.

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