AIIMS doctor injured in Yamuna Expressway car crash sent GPS location to colleagues on WhatsApp
Senior resident doctor Wankhade, who died in the amuna Expressway Accident, had celebrated his birthday on Saturday and the group was on its way to Agra to continue the celebrations.delhi Updated: Mar 19, 2018 12:32 IST
For doctors in the emergency department of AIIMS, the first news of the accident involving seven of their colleagues in Mathura came in the form of a WhatsApp message on Sunday morning.
The sender was none other than 27-year-old Catherine Halam, one of the four survivors of the accident that left three of her colleagues dead.
Three AIIMS doctors were killed and four of their colleagues were injured during a joyride on the Yamuna Expressway near Mathura on Saturday night when their car slammed into the back of a truck with protruding metal rods.
“Catherine had sent a message that their car had met with an accident and they needed help. The first thought on our minds was that it was a relatively minor accident as Catherine was able to type and send the message,” said Priya, Catherine’s colleague and batchmate at AIIMS.
Moments later, the WhatsApp group received another message. This time it was Abhinava Singh who sent the GPS location of the spot where the accident had occurred. “Suddenly, we felt like they were in bigger trouble. Within minutes, we received calls from friends and colleagues informing us about the deaths of our three friends,” said Priya.
Catherine, Abhinava and two other doctors were rushed to AIIMS trauma centre on Sunday for treatment after the mishap on Yamuna Expressway that left three people dead on the spot.
Six of the people involved in the accident were batch mates and were working as junior resident doctors in the emergency department of AIIMS for the past three years. The seventh victim – Harshad Wankhade – was a senior resident doctor in the same department.
Wankhade had celebrated his birthday on Saturday and the group of seven doctors were on their way to Agra to continue the celebrations. They were travelling on a Innova car for the road trip.
“They had actually planned to celebrate the birthday at Connaught Place after finishing their duty on Saturday. But when they found the place too crowded for their liking, they took an impromptu decision to drive to Agra, see the Taj Mahal and return to work by Sunday evening,” said Apoorva, another doctor.
Hours later, their colleagues were left grappling with the news of the accident.
“We are too traumatised and not in a position to work, but the emergency medicine is an important department, so we cannot stop work. We are taking turns to work and visit our injured colleagues,” said Apoorva, who had a night shift on Sunday.
The doctors divided themselves in small groups based on their shifts so that they could assist the families of the dead and the injured without affecting patient care.
“Most of the families are yet to arrive in Delhi. But when they reach, they will find it difficult to manage in the city. It is our duty to comfort them, arrange shelter for them and accompany them wherever they need to go,” said Apoorva.
Priya and Apoorva were among several doctors who kept visiting their injured and unconscious colleagues at the trauma centre throughout Sunday. “I spoke to Abhinava when she regained consciousness for a brief while. She was only able to remember being lifted from the accident site. She does not recollect anything else,” said Priya.