Hospitals overwhelmed by patients and their relatives in the wake of stormMadhabi Chaudhary, the matron at Narayani Sub-regional Hospital in Parsa, was preparing to go to bed on Sunday night when she got a call telling her to be present at the hospital at once.
Madhabi Chaudhary, the matron at Narayani Sub-regional Hospital in Parsa, was preparing to go to bed on Sunday night when she got a call telling her to be present at the hospital at once.
The storm that cut a swathe through Parsa and Bara districts in the evening had left a trail of destruction—particularly in poor neighbourhoods— and a large number of casualties in its wake.
Chaos had already descended upon the hospital when Chaudhary reached there. The medical staff were scrambling to attend to the injured people. The entire hospital was overflowing with wounded patients and their distressed relatives. They were brought to the hospital in ambulances, police vans, cars, tractors, motorcycles, bullock carts and rickshaws. The torrent of patients began to subside only after 3am.
“Since the hospital’s emergency ward has only 10 beds, we had to treat the patients on the floor and hallways,” said Chaudhary. “I had never attended to so many casualties at once. The hospital was not prepared for a disaster of such magnitude.
Most of the people had suffered from head injuries and fractured limbs. There were also some cases of punctured stomach where the patients’ intestines were protruding outside their bodies.
“There was a great deal of panic at the hospital. Our staff were overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients and their relatives, so we had to seek the help of the police to manage the crowd,” said Dr Atulesh Chaurasia, the medical superintendent at the hospital.
As of late Monday afternoon, more than 60 patients were receiving treatment at the hospital’s emergency ward and 20 others in the general ward.
The hospital referred some seriously injured patients to Kathmandu. Medical facilities in Bara also had a tough time coping with the number of casualties.
Tribhuvan Chandra Jha, the medical superintendent of Kalaiya Hospital, said seven doctors and eight paramedics attended to more than 350 patients overnight.
Some of the people were pronounced dead on arrival, while others died in the course of treatment. Nineteen bodies were autopsied on Sunday night alone.
“Most of our staff were preparing for bedtime when the District Police Office notified the hospital about the casualties left by the storm. We responded as promptly as we could and tried our best to handle the situation,” Jha said. Shiva Pujan Sah, a paramedic at the hospital, said his experience of working with a medical response team during the 2015 earthquake helped him a lot.
“I had worked at Norvic Hospital in Kathmandu during the earthquake. The scenario was similar,” Sah said.
On Monday, the Ministry of Health and Population deployed a medical team the storm-hit areas in Bara and Parsa districts.
Mahendra Prasad Shrestha, chief of Health Coordination Division at the Health Ministry, said Nepal Army Hospital and Nepal Police Hospital have also mobilised their medical teams.
“Doctors have also been deployed from Kathmandu, Hetauda, Chitwan and Janakpur, while medicines and first aid kits have been sent from our regional medical stores,” Shrestha said.