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Doctors operate upon patients in candlelight- latest from the quake scene

The latest word from Gujarat is that doctors are being stretched to their limits working on cases for hours together without a break. At times they work in candlelight when the power fails, but the work goes on. Many caesarean sections to deliver babies were conducted in open verandahs. On Jan 27th nearly 1500 patients were operated upon without a break. Many fractures were fixed without x- rays.

The worst quake in Indian history has claimed more than 20000 people so far and at least 50000 people have suffered serious injuries of the brain, spinal cord and other grave injuries.

While most of the fractures and other injuries were treated at the site some serious life threatening injuries had to be treated by shifting the patients out of Gujarat to tertiary medical centers. Due to a scarcity of X ray machines, many fractures had to be treated without x rays. There were no recovery rooms available after surgeries. Open verandahs were used as makeshift recovery rooms and operation theatres to conduct caesarean sections to deliver babies.

More than 700 doctors were furiously working over five days to correct whatever they could, most of them went without food for two days. With absolute collapse of infrastructure, the doctors have a tough task on hand doing whatever they can, given the limited facilities, which are hardly, bare minimal. Biscuits, dry fruit and bottled mineral water form the diet of doctors who work round the clock trying to ease the pain of the thousands who survived the quake.

While the actual treatment might end in a few hours, for the injured to recover it might well take several weeks or even months before they become normal again. Even if they do it is unlikely that anyone of them would ever forget the quake of black Friday.

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