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Working against time to save lives

india Updated: Nov 30, 2008 02:39 IST
Team HT
Team HT
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It was emergency duty that never seemed to end.

As the full horror of Wednesday night’s massacres at south Mumbai filled Television screens and clogged mobile phone inboxes, the area’s colonial-era civic hospitals were the first to deal with the bloody onslaught, with medical staff working around the clock to treat the unconscious and extricate bullets from the injured.

Doctors and support staff worked for over 48 hours — and the results show. More than 90 per cent of the injured have been saved.

“We always have an emergency unit of senior and junior doctors of all disciplines ready, and they were fully equipped to handle the cases as soon as we received the news,” said Dr Ashok Borisa of the general surgery department of JJ hospital. “There was no shortage of blood and the para-medical staff was plenty.”

He has been working non-stop since Wednesday night. “We are tired but we can’t leave our patients.” Most patients had received multiple bullet injuries, he said. “All patients are stable except one (who died).”

At Cama hospital, itself a target of terror, most patients were discharged against medical advice. There was the added responsibility of filling

discharge forms and taking care of those who decided to stay on, a young gynaecologist who had not returned to the doctors’ quarters for over 36 hours, said.

“We can’t leave patients in the lurch. I am very scared. I was in the hospital when they attacked. I heard the firing and grenade blasts but can’t shun my duty,” said the doctor.

Private hospitals chipped in too. “We have over 142 resident doctors on call and all senior consultants are available on 24x7 basis,” said Col (Retd) Bhim Khemani, executive director at Jaslok.

At Bombay Hospital in Marine Lines, which has admitted 76 terror victims, off-duty doctors were called back. “When the first lot of patients was brought in at 11.30 pm on Wednesday, many stretchers had been brought down and lined up in the compound,” said spokesperson Dr Ashish Tiwari.

Dr Santosh Goyal, a retired trauma specialist who runs two private hospital, rushed with her staff and ambulance to various civic hospitals. She helped ferry over 30 patients from GT hospital and St George Hospital to the better-equipped JJ and Bombay hospitals through Wednesday night.