With the Malwani liquor tragedy claiming a huge number of victims, civic hospitals around the city are now attending to a number of patients from the vicinity, who are rushing for a medical check-up out of sheer panic after having consumed the spurious alcohol.
Family members perform last rites of hooch tragedy victims at the Malwani crematorium on Saturday
Around 30 people, from Kharodi and Rathodi vicinities of Malad, rushed to various BMC hospitals and many others opted for private clinics after being alerted by the number of victims in one of the biggest tragedies of the year.
A total of 27 patients have been taking treatment at KEM, Sion, Nair and Shatabdi hospitals. They are currently under observation and doctors have announced their condition to be stable.
A total of 104 people have succumbed to the poisonous liquor that they had consumed in Malwani. The casualties had started arising from Thursday night, when around 9 people succumbed to the liquor overnight and more than 15 were admitted to the nearby Shatabdi Hospital for treatment.
However, in three days, the toll has now crossed 100. While the casualty count is rising, people who had allegedly tried the liquor rushed to the hospitals voluntarily or were admitted by their families, to avoid possible future after-effects.
Most of the patients weren’t facing any particular problems from the liquor that they had consumed. However, the families panicked after the massive death toll. As of now, KEM Hospital is treating 11 patients, whose condition has been declared stable by doctors.
Nair Hospital is currently treating 10 such patients, who have been kept under observation. Apart from these civic hospitals, Shatabdi and Sion hospitals are also treating three such patients each, who are being kept under observation.
There has been no deterioration in their condition. While the cause of death will be ascertained only after the Kalina Lab report of the viscera of the victims, doctors said that it could most probably be methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, which is highly toxic and unfit for consumption.
While the liquid is used for industrial purposes and is easily available, consumption could directly affect the central nervous system and result in blindness, coma, and eventually death.
An on-duty doctor at Nair Hospital said that all the 10 patients in the facility were stable, apart from two who were being treated in the ICU. “Patients had subjective symptoms (apparent to the individual afflicted but not observable by others), some complained about nausea and headache, and others mentioned vomiting. But they are all stable,” she said.
‘Nothing to worry’
mid-day spoke to a relative of Nilkanth Sahu, a 37-year-old resident of Kharodi who was rushed to KEM Hospital on Saturday. The relative said that the family rushed to the hospital in spite of Sahu exhibiting no specific after-effects.
“He didn’t face any particular health-related problem but since he confessed to us that he had also tried the liquor, we didn’t want to take any risk. He is stable now and doctors said he will be discharged within a few hours,” said the relative.
Phones, wallets stolen
A group of politicians had gathered outside Malwani police station on Saturday to protest against the police’s apathy in reining in the manufacture of illicit liquor that caused the deaths of nearly a hundred people.
Some of the protesters, however, fell victim to thieves. On Saturday morning, the gathered workers of Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), and some NGOs demanded the suspension of the police officers for not taking action against the hooch manufacturers.
During the protest, Congress corporator Geeta Yadav lost her mobile phone worth Rs 20,000. Jaiprakash Singh, another Congress worker, lost his wallet, which had R2,800 in cash and four debit and credit cards. Four others, also from the Congress, had their belongings stolen by pickpockets.
The victims registered a case with the Malwani police. The involvement of politicians has also earned the ire of locals, who blame them for not taking action earlier despite knowing about the hooch dens.
- Shirish Vaktania