Author: Gayathri Ramanujam
Publication: Afternoon Despatch & Courier
Date: July 17, 2006
The BhaktiVedanta Hospital of Mira Road, which
was shut to the needy of Mumbai's far-flung western suburbs for nine months
between 2003 and 2004 due to labour problems, redeemed itself last Tuesday
when it took in 43 victims of the train blast that occurred five kilometres
away. Unlike the other major municipal hospitals that have been in the news
for the roles they played in treating the victims of the blasts, this private
hospital with a spiritual base has kept out of the publicity glare, partly
because nobody in the city knows of it and mainly because its doctors and
staff keep a low profile.
Dr. Girish Rathod, one of the hospital's orthopaedic
surgeons who has been on duty since that evening, tells the story. The hospital,
a part of the Chaitanya Welfare Charitable Trust, was warned about the blast
in its vicinity at 7 p.m. and told to expect victims soon.
It was not given time to think or plan, but
only act. Quickly, on an emergency footing, the hospital scrambled together
a team of 20 doctors including general, orthopaedic and ENT surgeons, along
with physicians, anaesthetists and others. Around 35 nurses and 50 paramedical
personnel from the hospital were also requisitioned.
That's when the victims started pouring in.
Dr. Rathod says they came in autorickshaws, private vehicles, and ambulances,
severely injured, critical, and several close to death. The driveway of the
BhaktiVedanta Hospital was a bloody mess in minutes. "We admitted 43
victims out of which, tragically, 15 succumbed to their horrific injuries
the same evening. One more died subsequently. But 11 were treated and discharged
for minor injuries the next morning by 10, and two more after that, the rest
are with us," said Dr. Rathod.
Of the victims still with the BhaktiVedanta
Hospital, on Saturday, four were still critical and in the ICU, and ten in
the general ward. Most of those who died were from Vasai and Nallasopara.
All bodies but two, which were unidentified and sent to Thane's Civil Hospital,
were claimed by next of kin with the help of police. The hospital is naturally
proud of its effort. "But we felt helpless and miserable when young boys
died before our eyes and we could not save them," said Dr. Rathod sombrely.
He narrated a case. "A well-built, young
boy was rushed to the hospital on a wheelchair At first glance, he didn't
seem to have much injury because his legs were covered. I heard a man shout,
'I found my son. He is my son.' He was pointing to the boy. I congratulated
him, telling him his son was in good health compared to some other victims,
so he should not, worry. That's when the blood from the boy's thighs spurted
out. He bled profusely and we could not save him." However, there is
reason to cheer as well. Like 20-year-old victim Santosh Yadav. "He had
a terrible head injury and his brain was dangling out. But, now he is fine.
He can move about and even consume food," said Dr. Vandana Deevan, another
of the saviours at the BhaktiVedanta Hospital.