Bodies, charred limbs, gunshot wounds — GTB Hospital saw the worst of Delhi riots
On Monday morning a trickle of injured people had started coming to Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, the biggest government medical facility in the trans-Yamuna region. By evening, the numbers started increasing and so did the severity of the injuries, several coming in with bullet wounds.
The number of those injured swelled to 97 by next morning and over 200 by the time the violence abated. Twenty-eight people were brought dead to the hospital and 10 succumbed to their injuries during treatment.
GTB hospital saw the worst of Delhi riots -- bodies, debilitating injuries and people turning up to find their relatives. It was a disaster-like situation, said Dr Sunil Kumar, medical director of GTB Hospital. Among the measures taken at the hospital were beds earmarked for those injured in the riots, a trauma team of over 50 doctors being roped in, and a separate emergency area created for those coming from riot-hit areas.
After assessing the kind of injuries that people were coming in with on Monday, GTB hospital drew doctors from surgery, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, and ophthalmology department to create the trauma team.
“The team was further divided into smaller teams of five to six doctors who manned the emergency room in rotation to ensure proper rest for everyone. As soon as people came in, the doctors triaged them – categorising them into green, yellow, and red – with green being those who could walk and probably had blunt traumas and injuries to the limb and red being those grievously injured,” said Dr Kumar.
Depending on how a patient was categorised, a team would take over. “But, we could receive two or three red patients at once or within a short time. So, we had Red team 2 and Red team 3 ready to take over,” he said.
Forty patients, mostly in surgery and orthopaedics department, are still admitted to the hospital.
To ensure that patients other than the riot victims who walked into the emergency department also received the adequate care, a separate room inside the emergency area was demarcated for them.
When patients with bullet wounds started showing up at the hospital on Monday evening, the hospital had another problem at hand. The CT scan machine in the hospital had broken down. The patients had to go to Rajiv Gandhi super-speciality hospital around 2 kms away for the scan.
“Usually CT scan is not needed for treating the emergency patients that we get. However, it is needed for assessing some of the bullet injuries, etc. The machine was repaired immediately,” said a senior doctor, on condition of anonymity.
Based on the reports from riot-hit areas and the number of patients coming in the day before, the hospital also earmarked beds for those injured in the riots.
The forensic department too had to work past the office hours.
On Tuesday, a day after the riots began, the hospital did not conduct the autopsies of any of the riot victims other than that of the head constable Ratan Singh. A medical board had to be set up. “The request for setting up a medical board and for a post-mortem comes from the police. But, once the requests were raised, I asked all the doctors from the department to ensure that the autopsies were conducted the same day. The mortuary ran well into the night during the crisis,” said Dr Kumar.
The autopsy of four people is pending as they are unidentified