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Mumbai woman gets knocked down by car; driver rushes her to hospital

The 24-year-old woman, who was hit by the car as she was crossing the road in Worli, is now recovering at home. Her family is demanding compensation from the car owner

Mumbai showed both its rash and humane side in a matter of minutes on Friday when a speeding car first accidentally knocked down a young woman, but then, stopped to not just check on the victim, but also rushed her to a nearby hospital. The injured woman, 24-year-old Nirja Vakil, was seriously injured but is now recuperating in hospital. She has not pressed charges against the errant car driver, since he helped rush her to the hospital.

A relatively unknown, dangerous genetic blood disorder that can be fatal if undiagnosed, may have silently crept into Mumbai. Raja Yadav, an 18-year-old boy who is battling the debilitating disease known as sickle cell anemia may not be the only one in the city with the disease, though as of now he is one of the very few to be diagnosed with it. The teenager was recently reunited with his younger brother following a report in mid-day (Sion hospital becomes home for orphan with blood disorder, mid-day April 7). But doctors now say, since this blood disorder is hereditary in nature, even his brother Ashok will have to go through a battery of tests to ensure he is not afflicted with the same disease. Medical experts say most Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) patients hail from central Indian states. “The disease is not very common in Mumbai. Most patients we have come across, are migrants from Jharkhand and Bihar or are from Nagpur or the Amravati belt in Maharashtra,” said Dr Harshad Argekar, associate professor at the orthopaedic department of Sion hospital.  “In Raja’s case, since his hip bones were damaged at a tender age, we had to wait for his bones to fully develop before we could operate on him. We will now have to test his brother, Ashok, who is expected to come to the hospital soon,” added Dr Argekar. He said the hospital gets around four to five SCD patients every three months. Speaking to Sunday mid-day, Dr Sachin Bhonsle, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Mulund’s Fortis hospital, said, “There are two types of SCD, both of which are genetically transmitted. If both parents are carriers, they should be counselled before having children.”  At the hospital, doctors treat nearly 30 SCD patients each year, some of whom require multiple joint replacements caused by avascular necrosis. SCD is a genetic blood disorder where the shape of hemoglobin cells is ‘sickle’ shaped due to which its oxygen binding capacity decreases.  In severe cases where SCD is diagnosed late, patients tend to develop avascular necrosis, or cellular death of the bone components due to lack of blood supply.
Twenty four-year-old Nirja Vakil at home with her family members. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

According to eyewitnesses, the vehicle knocked down Vakil, as she was crossing the busy Annie Besant Road in Worli on her way to work on Friday. Speaking to Sunday mid-day, her sister Nupur Desai said, “At the time of the accident, Nirja was not speaking on the phone or talking to anyone. She was crossing the road at the designated spot, so it was the driver’s fault. But we have not lodged a police complaint because the driver of the vehicle told us that he will pay us the compensation.” However, the compensation amount is yet to arrive.

Meanwhile Vakil who is in hospital and her family is in trauma. The woman has lost three front teeth and suffered injuries on her left hand and nose. “Doctors have told us that we will have to pay a little over Rs 1 lakh for the treatment. We expect compensation from the person who injured my sister, at the earliest,” Desai said.

Eyewitness account
Speaking to smd an eyewitness to the incident said, “I was walking behind the girl while crossing the road. She had a phone in her hand but was not speaking on the phone. While crossing, a car coming off the flyover knocked her down. But the driver stopped the vehicle and a woman sitting in the car came out and immediately took the girl to the hospital along with a traffic police constable who was present at the spot.”

Officials from Traffic Department said that the woman was immediately taken to Poddar hospital. When smd visited the hospital on Saturday, a police constable at the hospital said, “The victim was brought here with injuries to her nose and hands. The doctors wanted to admit her at the hospital but her mother took her to Dombivli, where they have their family doctor,” he added.

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