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Speed kills. Using this grave line, Indian neurosurgeons want to spread awareness against head injuries sustained during road accidents.

On Monday, the Neurological Society of India said that 379 Mumbaikars had lost their lives in road mishaps between January and September 2013. But in the same period, over 17,000 others had sustained either minor or major head injuries. "Serious injuries essentially mean the patient has been left with some disability,” said Dr Urvashi Shah from KEM Hospital.

"Every year, JJ Hospital’s neurosurgery department gets 1,000 admissions, of which 250 are of head injuries,” said Dr D Palande of the Byculla hospital.

India is Head Injury Capital of the World

Dr C Deopujari, a neurosurgeon from Bombay Hospital, said 30% of their patients are accident victims. According to a study conducted in Bangalore in 2006, road accidents result in 11 lakh deaths, 25 lakh hospitalizations, 80,000 minor injuries and economic losses to the tune of 3% of India’s GDP.

"India has emerged as the capital of head injuries in road accidents across the world. Most victims are young adults, who are in the most reproductive years of their life,” said Dr Dattatray Mazumdar, KEM Hospital.

In this backdrop, the Neurological society is flagging off a year–long campaign, HEADS…We Win, on December 11, to reduce head injuries. It stands for H=Helmets Must, E=Effective Bystander Response, A=Alert Pedestrian, D=Drive Responsibly and S=Speed Kills.

"India has a huge shortage of neurosurgeons. We have one neurosurgeon/11 lakh population, while WHO recommends one neurosurgeon/lakh population," said Dr Deopujari.

"Worse, we are unable to get victims to reach hospitals within the golden hour,” said Dr S Sankhla. The need is to educate bystanders and paramedics on how to handle patients with head injuries.

Times of India
10 Dec 2013,
Mumbai, India

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