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Earlier this year, a young man, Harish Nanjappa, died in a road accident on a highway outside Bengaluru. As he lay dying, without any treatment, he spoke of his wish to donate his organs.Today, the Karnataka state government named a new scheme to ensure treatment to accident victims after him.
Under the scheme, accident victims will receive care for the first 48 hours regardless of their ability to pay. For the treatment of each accident victim, Rs. 25,000 will be assured -- the government has earmarked Rs. 80 crore for the scheme.
The scheme is applicable to anyone, Indian or foreign national, who meets with an accident in Karnataka.
Karnataka is the first state to implement such a scheme. The government hopes it will encourage more people to help accident victims and people won't be turned away when they are desperate for treatment.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Harish's mother Geethamma said, "What happened to my son should not happen to anybody. This scheme in my son's name... will be a useful scheme to help everyone."
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah also paid tribute to Harish. "That man, even though he was dying, he thought of the society," he said.
Leading cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty welcomed the scheme.
"Most of the time they (accident victims) are allowed to die on the road. Whether he is a millionaire or a pauper, nobody cares," he said. "With this scheme there is an incentive for hospitals to pick them up from the road and give them proper care."
Health minister UT Khader said people do not hospitalise an accident victim for two reasons - the fear of a legal problem and question of money.
"Whenever one goes to the hospital, they are asked to pay first. On humanitarian grounds, he can't leave him also... on that basis we have planned this programme," he said.
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