December 13, 2017

Help an emergency patient on the road

By Tekkatho Zaw Htoo Oo

File photo shows highway Police and rescuers prepare to send the injured from a road accident to the hospital.
File photo shows highway Police and rescuers prepare to send the injured from a road accident to the hospital.

By nature, Myanmar people tend to help others in need, philanthropically. Yet, sometimes they find it difficult to decide daringly as to whether they should do so or not, in the cases of accidents due to various reasons. Especially, their feet are too slow to give help victims in critical conditions, from road accidents or aggressive quarrels on roads or other dangerous events.
Even volunteers who are always ready and willing to help needy ones take time to decide to give a help or not in such cases, because of standing trials as evidences before courts of justice and undergoing frequent investigations of police authorities concerned. Even though victims are found on roads, some drivers pretend not to notice the incident for fear of sending the patients to clinics or hospitals. It seems that they do not want to get involved in criminal cases or they do not want to spare time to give a help.
Now Pyithu Hluttaw promulgated a new legislation to give timely care for urgent medical treatment to emergency patients. In the law, it is described that any individual who finds emergency victims suffering injuries during accidents is responsible for giving care to the patient themself or with the help of others else.
It is also defined that an emergency patient means anyone who suffers physical or mental injuries—minor or major cases—and anyone facing effects of trauma or other life-threatening conditions due to road accidents, natural disasters or other causes. Thus, we may occasionally meet such emergency patients in our environment.
You can help such a patient though not being a medical staff or a paramedic. Had you acquired smattering knowledge on giving first-aids, you are required to give paramedical treatment to the patient and thence to transport the patient to a hospital or a clinic.
Some injuries may get involved with police cases. At that time, the volunteer is required to inform reports to the police station or police outpost himself or through the authority concerned from ward or village administration members or other means or ways. If it is concerned with a criminal case, the process of the case and evidences must be kept under control so as to remain intact, and simultaneously marks need be made where necessary, for example—the place in which the victim fell down. Only after these have been done, arrangement for transport must be made.
Under the presently promulgated law, the person who finds the emergency patient must transport the patient to the nearest clinic or hospital by possible means unless the former cannot manage to give first aids care to the latter. Besides, it is also described that he must report to a nearest police station, police outpost, fire brigade, or other emergency assistance groups’ numbers.

The Holmatro Rescue Equipment (the Netherlands) Product Presentation & Demonstration is held at the office of Magway Region Fire Services Department in Magway
The Holmatro Rescue Equipment (the Netherlands) Product Presentation & Demonstration is held at the office of Magway Region Fire Services Department in Magway

In the past, concerning victims of car accident, assault and battery case, suicide poisoning, drowning cases, the patients or the bodies must be sent to Yangon General Hospital where forensic medicine branch was situated. Volunteers have to send to the nearest hospital or clinic, from there the patient or the corpse must continue to be transported to YGN. Now, they can be transported to many places. Once in the past, ambulances were not that plentiful as in now, depending upon taxis. The then taxi-drivers transported willingly. Now situations changed greatly. Taxi drivers pretended not to notice such accidents, avoiding getting involved with police. At present, the country came to abound with ambulances and volunteers.
Provided that the case on the injured emergency patient is an arrest-able offence, suitable means any ways must be sought for volunteers who helped the emergency patient or persons who first saw the emergency patient not to be put burden in case investigations are necessarily to be made in performing the police procedure concerning the case. It is strictly described that anyone who voluntarily performs assisting aids to the emergency patient in accord with the law must not be sued nor arrested for any reasons.
For some people did not manage to decide as to whether those victimized during events of car crash, collision or other causes must be transported to hospitals or clinics as quickly as possible if they were found at the place an accident happened, or whether they must be transported to hospitals or clinics only when the police arrives at the scene, some victims died unluckily. Under the newly prescribed law, anyone is responsible to help provided that there is a demand for the injured emergency patient to be transported to a hospital or a clinic, or to volunteers who provide urgent first aids. If someone is convicted that they are found to have delayed or obstructed the transport of the emergency patient to a clinic or a hospital, they must be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than one-year or fined not more than one lakh or both punishments without alternative to choose, it was described.

Yangon General Hospital Emergency Department. Photo: Phoe Khwar
Yangon General Hospital Emergency Department. Photo: Phoe Khwar

Private hospitals and clinics as well are hesitant to give medical treatment to the injured patients. Some often scold at volunteer transporters occasionally. Send them to the nation’s general hospitals, if possible. It has been instructed in the hospitals and clinics that the hospital or the clinic is responsible for giving medical treatment, concerning the injured emergency patients. On receipt of the report that there is the injured emergency patient in the hospital, necessary arrangements must be prepared to be able to give medical treatment at the hospital, and to prioritize them than the normal patients. Patients must be treated as soon as possible and as effectively as possible in accord with the standard of the hospital or the clinic. If necessary, they must be referred to suitable medical doctors and hospitals. As for the private hospitals and clinics, the injured emergency patients who got involved with criminal cases must be transferred together with patients’ records to the government-run hospitals in time.
Similarly, it was described in the prescribed law concerning the duties to be performed by respective police station, fire brigade and ward and village-tract administrators. Had the Emergency Patient Care Law promulgated under Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law no/53, 2014 been still valid, anyone can give treatment and care to emergency patient.

Translated by Khin Maung Oo

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