To share the lessons learnt from handling 82 victims of the 26/11 terror attacks two years ago, Bombay Hospital, on Friday launched a National Anti-Terror Forum.
The forum will set up a national advisory committee that will work in collaboration with the government to help hospitals across India to prepare a plan to deal with disasters such as terror attacks.
“The first step will be framing guidelines for hospitals and protocols for doctors in handling terror attack victims,” Dr MM Begani, consultant surgeon and a member of the forum.
The forum will prepare a flow chart that will list the steps doctors should follow while dealing with terror victims at hospitals and also at makeshift shelters at attack sites for immediate medical assistance.
Begani said that they were in talks with city hospitals including KEM, Nair, Sion, Lilavati, JJ and GT to be a part of this forum, which will also train the public in disaster preparedness.
The forum will also train paramedical staff, who are the first point of contact with terror attack victims and need to be well trained to initiate the process of medical care, said Dr Rajkumar Patil, joint director, medical services, Bombay Hospital.
Pre- and post-trauma counselling, rehabilitation, medical assistance to patients and their relatives are also on the agenda, said Dr Begani.
'We admitted 60 patients that night'
On Friday morning, a “thank you” message beeped on Dr Sanjay Chatterjee’s mobile phone. It was from Taj Mahal Palace chef Raghu Deora, who was brought to Bombay Hospital with severe injuries in the abdomen and a shattered leg after the 26/11 terror attacks.
“We performed four operations on him and he pulled through. The injuries from weapons such as AK-47 were new for us,” said Chatterjee, a consultant surgeon at Bombay Hospital, which attended to 82 victims of the terror attacks.
He added that the bullet injuries were deep and thus they had had to perform multiple surgeries on many of the patients.
Almost every staff member from the hospital, which was the closest private hospital to the attack sites, has a heartening story to share.
The hospital’s joint director, Dr Rajkumar Patil, remembers handling a bleeding patient, who was armed with a weapon. “We were not sure about his identity. But when I checked his identity card, I realised that he was Ashok Kamte,” said Dr Patil referring to then additional commissioner of police, who was shot by terrorists near Cama Hospital. “Unfortunately we were not able to save his life.”
Dr Sagar Sakale, chief medical officer, said, “The victims started pouring into the casualty after 10pm. At least 20 patients were brought in the first 10 minutes. There was major chaos,” Kuldeep Kaur, senior nursing superintendent, counselled her juniors on how to handle the load. “I agree that hospital staff has to be trained mentally as well as physically to deal with such situations.”
“We admitted 60 patients on that night and by 5am had operated on 30,” said Dr Patil.