The Golden Hour | Daily News

The Golden Hour

The injured should be administered proper treatment as soon as possible.
The injured should be administered proper treatment as soon as possible.

World First Aid Day is observed on the second Saturday of September and this year it fell on September 10. The day raises awareness among the public about how first aid can save lives in case of crises. According to the International Federation, first aid should be accessible to all people and should be an important part of developmental societies.

The golden hour refers to the period of time following a traumatic injury during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical and surgical treatment will prevent death. While initially defined as an hour the exact time period depends on the nature of the injury and can be more than or less than this duration. It is well established that the person's chances of survival are greatest if they receive care within a short period of time after a severe injury. The first hour of the accident is called the ‘Golden Hour’ due to the importance of it to save the life of the victim. The first 10 minutes of the first hour is the most crucial time period when it comes to saving the life of the accident victim. About 50 percent of accident deaths can be cut down if required medical care can be given to the accident victim during this time. Further damage is done to the accident victim and sometimes causes death due to giving wrong first aid and transporting the victim to the hospital in the wrong position (bent position inside a three-wheeler).

Now Sri Lankans are very fortunate because they have 1990, the free ambulance service to transport them to the hospital from the location of the accident. Earlier, it was three-wheelers which transported them to the hospital. Transporting accident victims to hospitals by three-wheelers put their lives in further danger. Sometimes, such accident victims became permanently disabled because their injured vertebra got completely destroyed while transporting them to the hospital in three- wheelers in a bent position.

Currently, what matters most is the behaviour of Sri Lankans during accidents. Fortunately, they did not behave like this during major disasters such as LTTE bomb blasts, the Easter Sunday suicide attacks etc. During those catastrophes, they very quickly transported the victims to the nearest state hospital without thinking twice and without waiting for someone else to do it.

But now this fortunate and positive situation of Sri Lankan citizens has completely changed. The very first thing they do now is video recording the entire accident, the agony of victims and everything. Only after that do they think about transporting accident victims to the hospital and sometimes they just leave as soon as they have done their video recording. This is a very pathetic situation because a large number of accident victims die due to the irresponsible bahaviour of onlookers. During one recent accident at Panadura town, a schoolboy died because of the delay in transporting him to the hospital which is located just half a kilometre from the location of the accident. There are a lot of videos circulating on social media about similar incidents where accident victims are not taken to hospital on time. We can guess the time just by watching such videos.

It is very pathetic how some young Sri Lankans try to become popular or heroes by video recording the agony of accident victims while they are dying on roads. It is a type of sick mentality that we need to get rid of. From childhood we need to educate people on the real value of life. Maybe it is too late when the child, wife, parents etc. of those youths who video record accident victims die on roads in the same manner. By then it will be too late for them to understand the ugliness of their act. Even if a person falls on the road or any other public place due to a heart attack or a stroke, the same thing can be observed. All the onlookers are very busy video recording the plight of the man or the woman. Someone or a few come forward to transport the patient to a hospital only after he/she dies.

Although human beings are different from animals, it is animals which have more humane qualities than human beings. It is animals which try to give life to their dead friends and who do not leave their bodies. But when it comes to present day so-called human beings in Sri Lanka we see the opposite. It is high time to change ourselves now. We need to become human beings before becoming patriots or anyone else. There is no point in becoming someone without becoming a real human being with real human qualities.

In the year 2021, there were 2,414 fatal road accidents in the country. The death toll was 2,513. A total of 6,401 people were seriously injured in the accidents, leaving them permanently disabled. The total number of road accidents reported in the year 2021 is 22319.

Four years ago it was reported in the media that every minute eight Sri Lankans need to seek medical treatment for injuries caused by an accident while one dies in an accident every hour and 27 persons die from accidents within one day. Annually, around 10,000 die from accidents in Sri Lanka. Every hour 450 Sri Lankans seek medical treatment for an injury caused by an accident while daily 11,000 seek medical treatment for the same. Annually four million Sri Lankans seek medical treatment for an injury caused by an accident. Hospital deaths caused due to accidents takes the 10th place.

According to the local consultants, the majority of the victims of road accidents are in the productive age between 15 and 40 years. Majority of road accident victims become permanently disabled. This has a significant negative impact on the country's economy.

Annually, the Government spends a significant amount of funds to treat accident victims. The main reasons behind road accidents are too much speed, not following road rules, ignorance of drivers and pedestrians, using mobile phones while driving, defects of vehicles and bad road conditions.

The victims of road accidents get further victimized when they are deprived from getting treatment on time and getting wrong first aid. The golden hour (first hour after the accident) of an accident victim is wasted on the road. 

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