Stanley Hospital receives at least one cracker blast victim every alternate day

City hospitals have seen many fire accident victims since Deepavali but class VII student Kesavan is among the few who will recover albeit a few scars.

A resident of Manimangalam in Kancheepuram district, Kesaven is now recuperating from two major surgeries on his hands.

“I was holding a cracker in one hand and an ooduvathi (incense stick) in the other. I had turned away to respond to someone who called out my name when the lit end of the ooduvathi accidentally touched the wick of the cracker setting it off,” Kesavan said.

The cracker blew up his hands, damaging his left thumb irreparably. The flesh on his right hand was burned in four places.

His family rushed him to Government Stanley Hospital’s plastic surgery department which is renowned for re-implanting and reconstructing damaged limbs. Over the past fortnight, plastic surgeons have reconstructed his left palm and are in the process of creating a skin flap for his damaged left thumb.

Three months later, Kesavan will undergo another surgery where plastic surgeons will graft a bone from his rib to create a new thumb on the left hand. It will become as functional as his original thumb as he has several years of growth left, doctors said.

Kesavan is yet to recover from the shock of it all. “I will never again go near crackers,” he said emphatically.

According to J. Mohan, head of department of the Institute of Hand and Micro Reconstructive Surgery, at Stanley Hospital, every alternate day, they receive at least one cracker blast victim. “People here burst crackers where to celebrate or mourn. Often, country bombs are the culprits and the damage can be severe.”

Reconstructive surgeries done at the department are covered under the Chief Minister’s comprehensive insurance scheme. So far, 434 patients have undergone treatment and another 100 or so are awaiting surgeries, Dr. Mohan said.

The department has received funds of Rs. 93 lakh under the scheme, of which, it has used Rs. 75 lakh to upgrade infrastructure and install facilities such as air-conditioners and a 240 KV generator.

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