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RML Hospital’s unsung heroes in Delhi blast

By Madhulika Sonkar, IANS,

New Delhi : They are the unsung heroes of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML) and their worth came to the fore when Delhi High Court blast victims started pouring in, carried by wailing ambulances Wednesday.

They are the cleaners and porters of Sulabh International — a non-government organisation that deploys 460 such people in shifts at RML alone – who were instrumental in bringing bloodied victims to speedy medical attention and ensuring hygiene in post-trauma care.

“We got a call from the police and scores of patients came in after 10.30 a.m.,” Sulabh International adviser Neeraj Kumar Singh told IANS. “The ambulances stretched up to Mandir Marg. The porters were deployed to bring in victims to the trauma centre.”

Thirteen people were killed and 95 injured when an explosives-rigged briefcase blew up at Gate 5 of the high court complex during the morning peak hour. RML is close to the blast site and many of the victims were rushed there.

These cleaners and porters, hired by the hospital in 2003, also work round-the-clock to maintain hygiene and cleanliness in the emergency wards of the hospital, where the blast survivors have been admitted.

“There is no special training that we receive,” trauma centre cleaner Rajesh said. “But we have to be strong and determined to attend to such cases of mass casualties.” The teenager said he remained calm as mangled and mutilated bodies were brought in.

“Some of them had their limbs hanging, some were bleeding profusely,” Rajesh said. “The patients needed immediate care without further trauma — that is all we knew.”

Special hygiene had to be maintained for the grievously injured patients as the chances of infection seeping through their wounds were high.

“Open wounds, heavy bleeding and the presence of nails increase infection risk in emergency wards,” another worker, Mukesh, said. “We have learnt over the years how to take care in such situations.”

He has no memory of how many patients they carried that day. “Things just happened and there was no time to stop and think about what we were doing,” he said.

Clad in blue-and-orange uniforms, these workers’ first task was to pool in stretchers at the trauma centre and disaster ward. A team of 22 supervisors coordinated this step in trauma management.

This is the story at RML alone. Victims were also admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital, and the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan Hospital.