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City plays with fire, burn victims bear the brunt

Hospitals across the city have been treating victims who sustained burns while bursting crackers; many of these have sustained grievous injuries to their eyes

When an entire city plays with fire, a few are sure to be singed. While most Mumbaikars managed to skirt the flames and celebrate the festival of lights unscathed, some revellers weren't as lucky.  A number of casualties were rushed to hospitals across the city, after sustaining grievous injuries while bursting firecrackers.


Visual treat: On the occasion of Bhaubeej, 50 artists joined hands and
created 50 different rangolis, spanning across a whopping 10,000 sq ft,
at an event organised by Sai Dahikala Mandal at Siddhivinayak Junction
in Thane East, yesterday.
Pic/Sameer Markande


Hospitals have been burning the midnight oil, attending to the numerous children and young adults who sustained burns during their revels. Some of the unlucky souls were victims of freak accidents, sustaining burns even though they weren't bursting crackers.

Dr A P Chaudhari, medical superintendent, GT hospital, said, "Our casualty ward treated some 30 patients with minor burns. Luckily, a majority of them escaped with only five per cent burns. None of the patients required hospitalisation."

Meanwhile, three burn victims were admitted to the civic-run Nair hospital, with superficial burns sustained from crackers. In the past three days, five burn victims reported to the Sion hospital, of which two were admitted to the burns ward. Six-year-old Bhoomi Tande and five-year-old Aaalam Shaikh sustained almost 50 per cent burns, and are now being treated at the hospital.

Dr Meena Kumar, head of the surgery department at Sion hospital, said, "A total of five cases were reported in the OPD (out-patient department). Two of them, both children, required admission. Once their burns heal, we will perform skin-grafting procedures on both."

Bhoomi's father Vinod said, "She was playing with sparklers when suddenly her dress caught fire. Thank God her face was spared. We hope she recovers at the hospital. We never thought that a sparkler could cause such a serious accident."

At JJ hospital, a young boy was admitted to the burns ward last week. "A cracker burst in his hand," said a doctor at JJ hospital. A significant number of burn victims sustained injuries to their eyes. In KEM hospital alone, four patients were admitted to the ophthalmology department. Dr Arjun Ahuja, head of the department, said, "A 19-year-old boy, Arvind Gupta, was admitted to the department, with his eye literally bulging out.

Gunpowder had entered the inner eye. We couldn't salvage his eyesight. He cannot see with his right eye."
Five-year-old Atul Shah from Virar also injured both his eyes, when a bomb exploded close to his face. He is recuperating at KEM hospital.

Expertspeak
Dr Arvind Vartak, burn specialist at Masina hospital, Byculla, said, "Even though we are a tertiary hospital, we
have already received two cases of burns, and are expecting more referrals.
 
Both victims have sustained burns on their faces and hands." He added, "Though we can't stop people from bursting crackers, the state authorities should encourage people to burst fireworks as a community and adopt certain basic safety measures.

People should understand that no crackers are completely safe. Most victims suffer burns on their hands, face and eyes."

Dark days ahead...

Arvind Gupta (19)
First year BSc student, Arvind was warned by his father not to venture out for fireworks. Arvind, however, could not resist the temptation, and decided to go ahead. He ended up injuring his eye, making him lose vision in his right eye.



"On Thursday, Arvind was lighting a sutali bomb, which exploded in his hands. His entire eye was bulging out, and oozing blood. We rushed him to Bhagwati hospital. Because he had sustained severe injuries, the doctors referred him to KEM hospital where doctors performed a surgery," said Subhash Gupta, his father.

Arvind said, "I never imagined that I could get so badly injured. I don't know how I will manage with one eye. I vow never to touch crackers, or allow my near and dear ones to burn them either."

Kamal Sonawane (6)
On Thursday, six-year-old Kamal Sonawane looked on as his friends burst crackers in their verandah of their BDD chawl. He was asked to hold an incense stick. Soon, he inadvertently poked his eye with it.



Dr Rahul Sharma of the Opthamology department at KEM hospital said, "He has suffered a corneal tear. We might have to perform surgery."

Raju Singh (35)
"I hate burning crackers and have stayed away from them all my life," said Raju, a resident of Bhiwandi. "I was strolling about on the terrace of the building, talking over the phone.



A few children were bursting crackers on the adjacent terrace. Suddenly, a rocket came flying at me, and in a matter of seconds my eye was gone," he added. Raju was rushed to a nearby hospital, which referred him to KEM hospital.

Animals scathed as well
The crackers did not spare animals in the city either. In the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) hospital, over 20 birds and animals were brought in for treatment. 



Dr J C Khanna, member, BSPCA, said, "We have four dogs and three cats who were brought to the hospital by animal lovers. The dogs have suffered burns and we are treating them for the same. One of the canines has suffered deep burns, from a rocket."

20 Number of birds and animals admitted to BSPCA for burns treatment

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