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26/11 attacks: We were the unsung heroes but doctors have got all the recognition, say Cama nurses

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the deadly terror attacks that shook the city on the night of November 26. The terrorists went on a killing spree at various places and the Cama & Albless Hospital was one of them. The spray of bullets on that night claimed two of its security guards.

 
Two of the nurses, Anjali Kulthe (left) and Madhuri Rahate at Cama & Albless Hospital

And while people prayed for their safety, the nurses at the state-run facility are the unsung heroes. They protected the 150-odd patients admitted in the hospital and did their duty putting their lives at risk. One of the nurses, Anjali Kulthe (43), vividly recollects the horrifying night of November 26, 2008. Not only did she rush an injured ayah, who got shot, to the casualty ward, but also shifted a pregnant woman to the labour room just in time for the delivery. The woman eventually had a safe delivery under a doctor’s supervision. All this, when the killers were raining bullets on the premises.


Cama & Albless Hospital

“I was in the ante natal care ward on the ground floor when the terrorists entered the premises and fired two bullets in our direction from the window. One bullet ricocheted off the wall and grazed an ayah’s hand, due to which she started bleeding profusely,” said Kulthe. Soon after, she informed a doctor on duty, who then alerted the police. “We knew that a series of shootings had taken place at CST, but we never thought our hospital would be attacked. During that night, we heard nothing but gunshots. The hospital staffers were unable to work during the nights for at least two months after the assault,” she recalled.

However, despite their valiant efforts, Kulthe claims none of the nurses received any praise or recognition from the authorities. “Shortly after the attacks, a circular was sent saying that the nurses who were on the night shift would receive an increment in their salary. Five years have passed, and we are yet to get it,” lamented Kulthe, who has been with the hospital for 15 years. Madhuri Rahate (45), another nurse who has worked at the facility for the last 22 years, spoke of the horrible night. “We provided the patients with moral support and ensured they were safe; it was our duty,” she said. Fifteen nurses were on duty during that fateful night. Rahate was in the cancer ward of the hospital when she heard gunshots.

“I immediately closed all the windows and made all the patients sit on the floor together, praying they don’t barge inside the building. We nurses were escorting patients away from unsafe places,” added Rahate. According to them, the then medical superintendent Dr Saroj Maheshgauri did nothing to recognise their work. However, the current superintendent Dr Rajashree Katke has addressed their grievances and holds a memorial ceremony every year, in which all of them are present, Kulthe said.

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