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What caused death of Amarnath yatris? Docs submit report

Last updated on: July 20, 2012 00:43 IST

What caused death of Amarnath yatris? Docs submit report

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

A team of doctors, who analysed the causes of deaths, stated in their report that though several pilgrims were unfit for the high altitude travel, they had been able to secure medical certificates from registered medical practitioners. Mukhtar Ahmad reports.

The death of Amarnath shrine pilgrims have mainly occurred due to pulmonary oedema and hypothermia, said a team of doctors who analysed the causes of death of the pilgrims.

The doctors had been asked by the state health department to analyse the causes of death of 17 pilgrims near the cave shrine.

The Supreme Court has already issued notices to the Centre and the state government over the high rate of casualties during this year's yatra.

The doctors submitted their report to state Governor, N N Vohra who heads the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) at a high meeting convened on Thursday to review the progress of yatra with particular focus on medical problems of the pilgrims.

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Image: Pilgrims make the arduous journey to Amarnath shrine
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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'Pulmonary oedema and hypothermia cause of most deaths'

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"Doctors opined that the majority of deaths which have occurred could be due to either high altitude Pulmonary oedema which occurs due to ascent to more than 10,000 feet over a very short period of time or hypothermia, both of which are fatal, once they occur," an official statement said.

"Of the deaths which have occurred amongst the younger yatris in the holy cave area, the doctors have pointed to cases of yatris who, despite suffering from serious ailments and being unfit for high altitude travel, had been able to secure medical certificates from Registered Medical Practitioners (RMP's) outside the state," the statement said.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com
Tags: , RMP

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'Most of the deceased had come ill-prepared'

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According to the doctor's report, most of the deceased 'had come ill-prepared for the pilgrimage in terms of proper clothing. Most of them believed in a dip in ice cold water before darshan. Most believed in fasting for three days before the darshan, which causes hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which is especially fatal for diabetics who take their anti-diabetic medicines while keeping fast'.

It has been further reported that some of the yatris who reported at the medical aid centres were suffering from serious cardiopulmonary ailments, asthma, COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, hypertension, not fit for high altitude travel, but were given clearance for high altitude travel by the RMPs from outside the state.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com
Tags: COPD

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Shrine board urges pilgrims to take precautions

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The SASB urged all 'the intending pilgrims to take all required precautions and cautioned that no person who has a serious medical ailment, or any breathing, chest or heart problem should think of undertaking this arduous yatra, which involves climbing up to nearly 14,000 feet'.

The doctors' emphasised that every yatri even those in good physical condition must carry the medicines which they are advised to take daily, if any, and besides some general medicines as may be advised by the doctors who have examined them.

It has also appealed to all pilgrims to report to the nearest medical aid centre in the yatra area if they feel unwell or suffer from any kind of uneasiness.


Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com
Tags: SASB

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