A homemaker was referred from one government hospital to another for seven hours after a bus she fell off crushed her left leg while she was accompanying her daughter home after her Madhyamik exam.
The accident occurred on Wednesday afternoon at Mahabirtala near New Alipore, a 15-minute walk from the family’s BL Shah Road home. Madhumita Halder, 40, lost balance and fell off the footboard of the private bus when it started moving before she could alight, daughter Reema said.
The bus was allegedly racing another on the same route: 21/1 (Barisha-BBD Bag).
Madhumita was conscious and in pain throughout the ordeal from 3.30pm till late at night. She was taken to MR Bangur, SSKM and finally Calcutta Medical College. By then, she had lost so much blood that doctors asked the family to arrange for eight bottles of blood before she could be operated on.
The police took Madhumita and Reema, a student of Sahapur Girls’ High School, within 10 minutes of the accident to MR Bangur Hospital, about a kilometre from the site. They also informed Madhumita’s husband Sunil Halder, a masseur, about the accident.
“When I arrived at MR Bangur, it was 4pm and they were then bandaging my wife’s wound. The doctors said her shin bone was fractured at two places. They also said they would have to refer my wife to another hospital because the surgery she required could not be performed there,” Sunil said.
The family was given the option of taking her to National Medical College and Hospital, SSKM or Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
Sunil decided to take her to SSKM, the state's apex referral hospital, since that was the closest from MR Bangur. “My wife lay unattended for an hour at SSKM before a doctor cut open the bandage, inspected the wound and dressed it up again. He said was no vacant bed. We tried our best to get her admitted to SSKM but to no avail,” Sunil said.
The desperate family took her to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital around 7.30pm, where a doctor told them to come the next day. “Since you are already four hours late, you might as well take her home now and come back tomorrow to the OPD,” Sunil quoted him as saying.
He and some family friends and relatives pleaded with the doctors for some time but that didn’t work. They then refused to take Madhumita home until she was treated.
The homemaker was attended to around 8.45pm. She was wheeled into the operating theatre a couple of hours later. The operation was underway well past midnight on Wednesday, sources said.
One of the doctors told Metro before the surgery that the patient was in a critical condition. “There has been a lot of blood loss. We have asked the family to get eight units of blood immediately,” he said.
Much of the blood loss may have been because of delay in treatment, but the doctor said this could be established only after speaking to the family about the patient’s medical history.
Mahabirtala is a congested stretch at the crossing of Tollygunge Circular Road and BL Shah Road. Sunil quoted his daughter as saying that the bus she and her mother were in started moving after seeing another bus on the same route approaching from behind.
The windscreen bus bearing the registration number WB19F 9221 was damaged by a mob before the vehicle was impounded. The driver was arrested and booked for rash and negligent driving.
3.30pm: Madhumita Halder’s left leg is crushed under a bus
3.40pm: MR Bangur Hospital, barely a kilometre from the accident site, dresses the wound and says it doesn’t have the expertise to handle the case.
5pm: She reaches SSKM, the state’s apex referral hospital, and lies unattended. Then a doctor cuts open the bandage, inspects the wound and dresses it up again, saying no bed is available.
7.30pm: She reaches Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, where a doctor says ‘since you are already four hours late, you might as well take her home now and come back tomorrow’.
The family protests, saying doctors were to blame for the delay. They refuse to take Halder away.
10.45pm: She is wheeled into the OT. Doctors ask the family to arrange for eight units of blood and describe her condition as “extremely critical”.