This small town is popular for mass production of a variety of crackers and fireworks. Unfortunately, it is equally well known for fire accidents on a massive scale.

When 41 persons were killed and another 65 were seriously injured in an accident at Om Sakthi Fireworks Factory at Mudalipatti, 13 km from here, on September 5 last year, the injured persons were shifted to various hospitals in nearby districts because the burns ward in Sivakasi could not take all of them but could accommodate only a dozen victims.

Had there been adequate manpower, beds, and other infrastructure in the burns ward in Sivakasi at that time, some more lives could have been saved. For, the golden hour (30 minutes soon after a mishap) was lost in shifting them to hospitals at distant places.

But things changed with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announcing establishment of a Centre of Excellence for treatment of burns at a cost of Rs. 4.5 crore.

Of this amount, Rs. 2.25 crore had been allocated for construction of a 32-bed two-storied building with modern operation theatre and Intensive Care Units (ICU).

A sum of Rs.1 crore has been earmarked for supply of equipment, furniture, and clothing material. The remaining Rs. 1.25 crore has been allocated to meet the needs of recurring expenditure.

M. Kathiresan, Joint Director of Health Services (in-charge), Virudhunagar district, said on Saturday that 32 new posts including a plastic surgeon, an orthopaedic surgeon, an anaesthetist, a general surgeon, a general physician, a physiotherapist, a laboratory technician, a social worker (psychologist), 15 staff nurses, five hospital workers, and three sanitary workers had been created.

What is more, the sanctioned strength is already filled up even before completion of the construction work.

When the burns ward comes into existence in a couple of months, it can treat burns of almost all grades, Dr. Kathiresan said and added that there won’t be any need for referral to bigger healthcare institutions.

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