Warmth and worry in a Mumbai hospital’s corridors

July 19th, 2011 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 19 (IANS) Ward numbers 17 and 35 at JJ Hospital present a heartrending picture, nearly a week after the Mumbai serial blasts. As the injured fight pain, agony and the fear of an uncertain future, their relatives, many of whom have come from far, huddle in the corridors. The waiting rooms too are full.

One such relative, Nirmal Ruhidas, a cobbler, has come from Midnapore, West Bengal, after his brother Lalu and nephew Sanjay were critically injured in the July 13 blasts.

“My brother and his son Sanjay had accompanied one of their friends to a shop in Zaveri Bazaar to buy some machine used in jewellery designing. They were leaving the spot when the blast took place,” he said.

Zaveri Bazar, Dadar West and the Opera House area were the three places where terror struck July 13, killing 19 people. At least 129 were admitted to various hospitals with injuries.

“My brother’s legs and hands got burnt and his back is bruised - glass pieces pierced his back. His son is completely burnt and their friend has become deaf in one ear. It’s very sad and we are worried,” Nirmal, 24, told IANS, outside ward 35.

“As soon as I heard of the blast, I rushed to Mumbai from Bengal. We are spending the nights in the corridors of the hospital. Doctors and nurses are taking good care of them. Doctors say after 21 days they would be able to tell us how many more days they need to stay in hospital,” he added.

Many such stories can be heard in the corridors of JJ Hospital in the Byculla area of South Mumbai where one can see cats and dogs huddling with the relatives as it’s pouring outside.

Soon after the terror strike, the state government announced Rs.50,000 compensation, but the victims say they haven’t got it so far. However, they are getting free treatment as promised by the state.

Dalpakan Parle, 61, is from a lower-middle family and runs a small business in Zaveri Bazaar. On the evening of the blasts, he was about to leave for home, but destiny had something else in store.

“He was just leaving the place when the blast happened. He was at a distance but because of the impact his left foot got hurt. Glass pieces, iron and other shrapnel cut deep into his foot. Doctor have operated upon him a couple of times and are doing it again Tuesday. The treatment here is satisfactory. Everything is taken care of by the hospital. They are doing regular scanning,” said Vinod Dave, his nephew, who also paces the corridor outside ward 35.

But Dave is extremely angry with the way government is tackling terror and has even expressed his disappointment to officials when they came to meet victims.

“When officers and ministers came, we asked them why they don’t have control over these frequent blasts. America had terror attacks once, and we are having it almost every year and it’s increasing. It’s irritating and frustrating to see that we are living on the edge and anything can happen, anytime,” he added.

It’s at least possible to meet patients at JJ Hospital, where 25 victims are being treated, but at Saifi Hospital and Harkishandas Hospital, patients and relatives are kept in sterilised wards where no one else is allowed.

Anant Gandhi, 60, is another patient at JJ Hospital whose nephew is spending uncertain days by his uncle’s side. Gandhi, who had gone to Zaveri Bazaar for some purchases, had never thought that his next stop would be a hospital. He has hurt his right leg very badly and is now recovering in ward 17 of the hospital.

“My uncle was in so much pain when we came. The doctors are treating his leg, but I don’t know how many days he will have to stay here. I take turns with my brother to be with him,” said Sourabh Gandhi, who is frustrated with terror attacks in the city.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at ruchika.k@ians.in and Dibyojyoti Baksi on dibyojyoti.b@ians.in)

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