For a city not known for its coordination or response time when dealing with an emergency situation, especially while traveling on a local train, an incident on the Harbour line came as a pleasant surprise for commuters yesterday.
Had it not been for the railway officials, especially the Railway Protection Force (RPF), a passenger would have given birth in the second-class ladies compartment of a CST-bound local train. But, the twin babies said hello to the world from the bed of a hospital, thanks to the concerted and well-coordinated effort between railway staff and Cama hospital officials.
35-year-old Govandi resident Sunita Dongre, who was in her last trimester and was expecting twins, started developing severe labour pains while traveling in the train. She, along with a relative, was making her way to the Cama and Albless Hospital in south Mumbai hospital after boarding the train at Govandi railway station at noon.
“Sunita started feeling uneasy at home and we suspected that she could go into labour anytime. We immediately set out for Cama hospital in CST. After boarding the train she, however, started experiencing severe labour pains, so we got off at Kurla station. I asked her if I should take her to a hospital in Kurla, instead of taking a risk by going to CST. But, she was adamant and wanted to deliver in Cama hospital, as her previous two deliveries had taken place there,” said Asha Bohal, a relative who accompanied Sunita in her journey.
The duo boarded another train from Kurla. A few minutes in to the journey, Sunita’s pain increased, and her shrieks attracted the attention of fellow commuters. What transpired next was also a lesser-known side seen of the city’s commuters who have on several occasions in the past drawn flak for the disregard of fellow citizens.
A few commuters decided to call the railway helpline (1275) for help, and to their surprise the operator responded in the affirmative, assuring them that a doctor, a few lady constables and a stretcher would be waiting for them at CST railway station.
“Taking her till CST was turning out be precarious, as her pains were increasing. The passengers swung into action, laying her down, and offered her comfort,” added Bohal.
When the train snaked into CST station, a site rarely seen in the city was observed -- a railway doctor, few RPF officials and a stretcher were awaiting Sunita to take her to the hospital.
The railway official had contacted the authorities at the hospital and they were also prepared, waiting for the patient with bated breath. After reaching the hospital, Sunita gave birth to two identical girls at 2.30 pm.
A doctor from the hospital said the twins are healthy and are doing fine and the mother would soon be shifted to the general ward. Sunita already has a seven-year-old girl and a three-year-old son. Her husband is employed as a driver.
Alok Bohra, senior chief security commissioner, Central Railway, said, “The help line number is set up for helping passengers and we keep doing such things regularly. Our staff immediately informed the deputy station superintendent and then he arranged the stretcher and she was sent to the hospital.”
(With inputs from Vedika Chaubey)