Pain echoes across Mumbai, hospitals grapple with crisis
The hospitals of south Mumbai reverberated through Wednesday night and Thursday morning with the anguished cries of devastated relatives of those killed in the city’s worst terrorist attack, report Alifiya Khan and Chitrangada Choudhury.india Updated: Nov 28, 2008 00:36 IST
The hospitals of south Mumbai reverberated through Wednesday night and Thursday morning with the anguished cries of devastated relatives of those killed in the city’s worst terrorist attack.
St George Hospital, near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, where terrorists opened fire at random on Wednesday night, saw the largest number of casualties — officials said that about 78 dead bodies and 103 injured had been brought there. The bodies have been shifted to JJ, KEM and Nair hospitals for conducting post mortems, and some injured were also shifted to these hospitals.
“Most of the injured who have shifted to JJ hospital have head injuries, bullet wounds and amputations,” said Sudesh Stalian, medical officer of St George. “We did not have the capacity to treat them.”
Out of the total dead, there were four foreigners, including one Australian identified as Brad Wilberd Taylor (49) and Tim Murphy, a UK citizen. The dead included at least two children.
A taxi driver Mohammed Israel Ansari was making rounds of the JJ Hospital to locate his 17-year-old son, who has been missing since last night. Ansari, a resident of Tardeo, said that he had gone to leave his family of 10 at the station to catch a train to Bihar.
“After I left them I went to the parking area. I then heard bullet sounds. I ducked, but when I ran to locate my family I saw six of them dead and two with bullet wounds, but since last night I have not been able to locate Murtuza,” said Ansari, weeping for his son.
Janardan Chitekar, a migrant labourer lost his daughter Deepali and son Rajesh in the attack. Chitekar, a native of Buldhana in Maharashtra, had called his children to the city for the first time as they were having Diwali vacations.
“After leaving them at the station with their uncle to go back, I heard gunshots. When I rushed inside I could not find them. After I located my brother-in-law and enquired about my children, I saw my son’s dead body lying on the St George Hospital floor. But I had no time to look at him as I am still trying to locate my daughter,” he said.
At Goculdas Tejpal Hospital, near Crawford Market, seven dead and 36 injured were brought in. Several policemen watched in tears as dead bodies of their colleagues in blood-splattered uniforms were brought in.
These included encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, his constable and driver Arun Chitte, police constable Vijay Khandekar and PSI Pradip More. The hospital staff said most of these officers were brought in dead.
Three hospital employees were also killed by gunmen, who opened fire near the staff quarters. “We were all eating and talking in groups on the pavement at around 10:30 pm, when two gunmen dressed in blue-and-black jackets and big guns burst on the scene and began firing,” said Bharat Wagle outside the hospital morgue.
He lost his brother in the firing. “We rushed in to our homes and bolted the doors, and some minutes later, my brother’s son came rushing from the home on the other side of the road to say his father had been shot.”