Space crunch space, lack of blood for train accident victims

July 19th, 2010 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Suri (West Bengal), July 19 (IANS) The injured in Monday’s train accident in Sainthia town of West Bengal battled a space crunch and shortage of blood in Suri district hospital where they have been admitted.
According to hospital sources, the male surgical ward has 50 beds, a few of which were occupied earlier.

“Each of the beds in the male surgical wards are being shared by two-three patients. Besides, arrangements for some of the injured were made on the floors and corridors of the hospital,” said a senior hospital official.

At least 61 people were killed and 157 others injured when a speeding Uttar Banga Express rammed into three coaches, one luggage van and two unreserved general second class coaches, of the stationary Bhagalpur-Ranchi Vananchal Express here at about 2.15 a.m., railway authorities said.

Initially, the hospital authorities also faced a crisis of nurses. However, to cope up with the onrush of patients, the district administration called in all nurses and health officials from the nearby centres and local hospitals.

Ashis Kumar Mondal, the chief medical officer of health (CMOH) in Birbhum district, admitting the space crunch at Suri hospital, said: “Every possible measure has been taken by the hospital authorities and district administration to provide treatment to the injured.”

Initially, there was an acute shortage of blood. With only a few packets of blood remaining in its blood bank, the hospital authorities were forced to frenetically search for blood for the critically injured patients.

More than 350 packets of blood were collected from Asansol, Burdwan, Bolpur, Sainthia and Suri.

Local voluntary organisations and political parties also joined hands and started blood donation camps at Suri hospital and in other places of the district to meet the crisis of blood, said Mondal.

“Shortage of blood will not stand in the way of providing treatment to the injured,” he said.

However, chaos prevailed at the hospital premises due to overcrowding of patients and the gathering of the worried relatives.

“The patients were admitted to the hospital since 3.35 a.m. Several ambulances were pressed into service to bring in the rescued injured passengers to the hospital,” said the official.

The patients also alleged that during the morning, there was a drinking water and food crisis in the hospital.

The uproar and confusion prevailed through the day in the hospital morgue, where the bodies of the 61 victims of the train tragedy were kept.

“With the present infrastructure, 18 bodies can be preserved in the morgue. So the hospital authorities have no other option than to dump the bodies there,” said a senior official of Suri sadar hospital.

However, Mondal said: “We are not dumping the bodies. We have arranged ice and other necessary things to preserve the bodies. The corpses have been kept separately in the morgue.”

The rush of VIP visitors - ranging from Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee to a team of state ministers, senior bureaucrats, railways and police officers - added to the woes of the hospital staff.

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