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Delhi hospitals: Silence after the chaos
October 30, 2005 17:34 IST
Last Updated: October 30, 2005 18:36 IST
Anju, five months pregnant, moans in pain as doctors kneel down to examine her burnt arms wrapped in cotton gauze. But more than herself, she is eager to know the fate of her unborn child. "Please tell me something about my baby," she asks a nurse in the Burns Ward of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
Her husband, Sudesh, lies in a bed opposite hers. Almost lost for words, Sudesh, a school accountant, recalled the horrors of the pre-Diwali terror that struck Delhi on Saturday.
"I was just steps away when it happened. There was smoke everywhere...I managed to get into an autorickshaw with my wife and headed for a hospital," he said. Doctors said they were trying their best to save Anju's pregnancy.
In the same ward were two other patients, one of them struggling for survival on life support, bearing testimony to Saturday's blasts. Dozens of worried relatives spent the night outside the treatment wards; some slept on floors, some in the open. But there was silence at hospitals treating the blast victims after a night of wailing ambulance sirens.
"There were 37 cases reported at RML, with five deaths, including a seven-month-old's," a hospital official said, as porters cleaned blood from the trolleys used to ferry the injured and dying after the explosions ripped through Paharganj and Sarojini Nagar markets. "There are 10 blast victims under treatment now. The rest have been discharged," he added.
Doctors said they received patients with horrific injuries, from amputees to severe head injuries to serious burns. "There were all sorts of injuries. Forty-two cases reported at our hospital. Out of them, 11 were dead while eight were referred to other hospitals," Lady Hardinge Hospital Medical Superintendent G K Sharma told PTI.
Another hospital staff described the night scene at Lady Hardinge as 'stunning'. "It was for the first time I saw so many blood-spattered people - men, women and children - rushed into the casualty ward one after the other," a hospital ward-boy said.
Rajesh, whose friend was injured in the Paharganj blast, described the scene, after he heard a 'thunderous explosion' in the market. "Just an hour before that, I saw people shopping and strolling," he said.
At hospitals, families grew more distraught, not knowing what to do. "We ran from one place to another but it took hours for us to locate the injured friends and relatives," said Sumit, whose brother was wounded in the blast.
Relatives were also angry at the police, after reports suggested they had received a tip-off about a bomb planted in Paharganj. "Why did they not order evacuation, when they had plenty of time to clear the area," asked Vinod Khosla, a Paharganj resident.