National

Police, hospitals fail Good Samaritan test, says survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 26, 2018 Published on November 26, 2018

Piyush Tiwari, Founder and CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation   -  File photo

Over 80 per cent of citizens are unaware of their rights – of not to be pestered by either police or hospitals to share their contact details or becoming a witness – if they help a road accident victim as a bystander, a survey conducted by Marketing and Development Research Associates for SaveLife Foundation reveals. Citizens have these rights under the Supreme Court decision regarding Good Samaritan law, which was institutionalised two years ago.

Moreover, none of the hospitals have displayed the Good Samaritan charter, which violates the the Supreme Court directive, says the survey. Hospitals are required to publish a charter in Hindi, English and regional languages at their entrance clearly stating they shall not detain a bystander or ask him/her to deposit money for treating a victim, .

The survey was conducted in April across 11 cities, with a total sample size of 3,667 respondents, including police officials, hospital administration, medical practitioners and trial court lawyers.

Hospitals, Police slip

A large chunk of police stations and hospitals ask for contact details of Good Samaritans who bring in victims. . Specifically, 57 per cent of medical professionals and 64 per cent of the police admitted asking for contact details of the Good Samaritans.

More than half the police officials surveyed in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata admitted to having pressured the Good Samaritans to become a witness.

Over nine per cent of the police admitted that they even detained the bystanders to make them say “yes” to becoming a witness. According to lawyers who have dealt with such cases, 31 per cent of the said eyewitnesses were accused by the police.

Almost 88 per cent of the people surveyed are willing to help, although a smaller chunk of people surveyed were willing to take concrete actions – like escorting the road crash victim to a nearby hospital (29 per cent willing), calling an ambulance (28 per cent) or calling the police (12 per cent). Reasons for not helping road crash victims include – being scared of police harassment (33 per cent) and unwanted legal hassles (28.5 per cent).

Solutions

Piyush Tiwari, Founder and CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation, told BusinessLine the solution lies in having state-specific Good Samaritan laws, grievance redressal mechanisms for Good Samaritans, a reward and recognition system, and a penalty system for hospitals and police that do not adhere to the law.

Maybe, a note could be made in the concerned officials’ record.

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Published on November 26, 2018
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