Reports of burn injuries in Delhi halved before Diwali; doctors credit Supreme Court cracker ban
The number of people visiting city hospitals with burn injuries before Diwali has halved, government figures show. Doctors say the trend is expected to continue this year in light of Supreme Court order only allowing the sale and use of only “green” and “low emission” firecrackers in the National Capital Region.
“This year, there has been a noticeable reduction in the number of cracker burn patients who have come in so far. I would say the numbers have gone down by 50%. Diwali is the day when we receive the highest number of burn patients between 6pm and 11pm, but with the court restricting the burning of crackers to just two hours, this trend (of low burn patients) is likely to continue,” said Dr Vishwa Prakash, professor of burns and plastics department at Safdarjung Hospital.
Safdarjung Hospital has one of the best burn treatment centres in a government hospital and the unit receives the highest number of burn cases every Diwali. On Diwali nearly around 170 cracker burn patients are treated at the hospital’s burns department.
The Delhi government-run Lok Nayak hospital usually gets 40 or 50 cases leading up to Diwali, but it has got no patients this year.
“Although we keep getting a few burn patients every year before Diwali, this year we have received none,” said Dr PS Bhandari, head of the department of plastic surgery at Lok Nayak hospital.
“The numbers had dropped last year too because of the court’s ban on the sale of crackers. The move was not anticipated. This year, people seem to be more prepared and as the court has further restricted the bursting of crackers to just a two-hour period, the impact should be more pronounced,” Bhandari said.
Even though there are fewer burn cases, doctors expect to see a rise in the number of patients with respiratory ailments, with several hospitals already reporting a 30% increase.
“After Diwali, the air is likely to get more polluted and there will be an increase in the number of patients coming in with upper respiratory tract ailments and aggravation of symptoms of diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” said Dr Raj Kumar, director of Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute.
The hospitals have, however, geared up for a huge inflow of burn patients like every year.
“The entire department, all the doctors and staff, are on duty on the night of Diwali. Beds have been kept reserved for burns patients and adequate arrangements have been made for dressing material etc,” said Dr Sameek Bhattacharya, professor of burns and plastics at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.
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- The move comes after it was found during an inspection that bars at some establishments were using liquor and beer bottles which did not have 2D bar-code and those that were not readable.