All the victims of the City Light Hotel collapse were given an option to shift to nearby corporate hospitals from the Gandhi hospital. Not only did each person decline the offer, a victim who left for a nearby private hospital later came back and got himself readmitted

Dr. M. Chandrasekhar was looking forward for his third day at the office as Superintendent of Gandhi Hospital. An authority in emergency medicine, the senior doctor had no idea that the day will put him on trial.

At exactly 8.40 a.m. on Monday, July 8, he received a call from the duty doctor, alerting him that a building in Secunderabad has collapsed and already there are 10 dead bodies at the casualty department.

Prompt action

The news was shocking but needed steady hands.

“We anticipated more casualties and injuries. I immediately spoke to heads of orthopaedic, cardiology, anaesthesia and general medicine. They had to rise to the occasion and they did on that day. I reached the hospital at around 9 a.m. and they were already there with support staff to receive victims,” he recalls.

By 9.30 a.m., the hospital’s casualty wing was occupied with bodies, critically injured and those with minor injuries in the City Light Hotel collapse. Outside, the administration was bombarded with queries from police, VIP visits and the media.

“It was mayhem and we anticipated it. Our only aim was to save lives and we did our best,” he avers.

The casualty department received 19 critically injured patients, 13 casualties and more than 20 victims with minor injuries. At the end of the day, the doctors lost two and managed to save 17. Within the next 18 hours, the mortuary department doctors go on to conduct post-mortem on 17 bodies without a break to enable quick release of bodies to relatives.

Interestingly, all the victims were given an option to shift to any nearby corporate hospital. Everybody declined.

“We were the first to touch the victims. A majority of them were unable to breathe at all. We immediately resuscitated them and later prepared them for surgeries. Three cases were very serious and we had to put them on ventilators,” says Head of Anaesthesia Department, Dr. Upendra Goud.

The nature of injuries were such that doctors, nurses and support staff from the department of orthopaedic, anaesthesia and general surgery had to attend to the victims.

“A series of surgeries related to pelvic, hip and other joints were taken up immediately. Our general surgery doctors had to remove intestines of one feet length on a patient, which is a complicated surgery,” explains Dr. Chandrasekhar.

On Friday, the hospital staff was appreciated.

“The most satisfying thing is that none of the victims complained about the treatment. In fact, a victim, who left to a nearby private hospital, later came back and got himself readmitted at Gandhi Hospital. The government will support the hospital in all its endeavours,” said Principal Secretary, Health, Medical and Family Welfare, L. V. Subramanyam.

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