Krishnagar, April 8: Pranab Mukherjee’s accident last night brought luck to patients at the ill-equipped Shaktinagar district hospital as they received unexpected emergency care from specialists rushed in to treat the foreign minister.
Sabita Samaddar had just brought her asthmatic, one-and-a-half-year-old son Anirban with severe breathlessness when paediatrician Sujit Biswas arrived with 19 other doctors around 11 pm.
They had all been summoned from home by Nadia’s top medical officer as Mukherjee was brought in with head injuries, suffered when a lorry rammed his car in nearby Bethuadahari.
“My son got immediate attention because of the minister. Else, I wouldn’t have got to meet the doctor so late at night,” Sabita said.
“It could have turned serious had the boy not been treated immediately,” Biswas said.
Shyamali Haldar, 58, who was vomiting and had blurred vision, was examined by eye surgeon I. Ahmed. Shamsher Sheikh, 42, who came around 11.30 pm with acute gall bladder pain, was admitted by surgeon Rahul Gupta for surgery. “It was possible only because of Pranab Mukherjee,” a grateful Shamsher said.
The minister was flown to Calcutta today and then to Delhi, where he was “well and cheerful” at the country’s top army hospital. But his dismal hours at the Shaktinagar hospital underlined the horror ordinary patients face there.
Mukherjee was kept inside the operation theatre throughout, because it was the only place that was clean and had the ventilators and cardiac monitors a makeshift intensive care unit needs.
The hospital had no CT scan machine though it had applied for one years ago, doctors said. Mukherjee, with 15 stitches on his head, was taken to a nursing home for a scan.
The hospital had no medicines for the minister, either — the doctors brought them from their personal stock.