Even as the Kolkata hospital fire news was flashed by the visual media, Kottayam district of Kerala, home to one of the largest numbers of paramedical personnel, mostly nurses, was caught in a grip of anxiety. Soon it came to light that two of the three hospital staff who died in the fire belonged to the district.
P.K. Vineetha and Remya Rajan died after fighting a valiant battle to save patients. According to the hospital authorities, both worked in the female general ward. “There were nine patients in the ward and they could save eight of them. Both the girls had gone up to save the ninth patient, who had suffered a fracture, but succumbed to smoke and heat. Only one patient died in the ward,” said Deputy Nursing Superintendent Sumini over telephone.
Early in the morning, Remya had told her mother Usha over phone that the building was on fire. She was not clear whether she would be able to escape. She disconnected the call in haste as she had to join the rescue operations.
Usha stayed alone in her house at Uzhavoor. Rajappan, her husband and a daily wage earner, died nearly five years ago. She admitted Remya in a nursing course in a private college in Andhra Pradesh with the help of a bank loan. Remya passed out last year and was urgently in need of a job as she had to repay the loan. She got the job at the AMRI Hospitals in Kolkata a few months ago.
Remya's brother Renjith had got a job in Dubai two years ago.
The news of Vineetha's death came as a severe jolt to her family that had rejoiced over the first savings she had sent from her salary last month. She had joined the hospital only two months ago after completing general nursing from a private nursing college in Andhra Pradesh.
Addition of a new earning member to the family had brought relief to her father Kunjumon and mother Mary of Pulickal family at Kothanallore, near here. Both are daily wage labourers. Their younger daughter is a nursing student at a private college at Changanassery.