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Tuesday , February 16 , 2010
 
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Alive but limbs lost in prime of youth

Pune, Feb. 15: For some who have lived to tell the tale, the German Bakery blast has disintegrated their lives in more ways than one.

Several of those wounded in the explosion, many of them in their twenties, have had to undergo amputation, so severe was the impact of the blast that claimed nine lives on Saturday.

Fighting death in hospital wards, many of these critically injured in their twenties tell doctors that death would have been better than a life without limbs.

“Of course, life means more than limbs, but there is just a bit less of me after the amputation,” a victim told Dr Vilas Gundecha at Pune’s Inlaks and Budhrani Hospital after his amputation.

Amjad Ahmed, 22, of Iran was a keen volleyball player and represented Pune University last year. Ahmed survived the blast — unlike his countryman Sayyed Abdul Gani, 26 — but he lost a leg.

“His leg was amputated on Sunday,” said Gundecha.

Waiting outside the ICU, Ahmed’s Ethiopian friend Keke said the Iranian was a keen student of chemistry at Pune’s Wadia College. Keke had accompanied Ahmed to German Bakery with a Sudanese student on the day terror struck.

“He would always call the city, ‘Pune Al Hanoona’ or ‘The Beautiful Pune,”’ said Keke, who was fortunate to have escaped with minor burns.

Their Sudanese friend, Anees Eltiyath (23), is battling death.

Hailed as a soccer star, Anees had scored a breathtaking goal at the recent annual football tournament between foreign students in the city.

He now lies without a left leg at the ICU of Inlaks and Budhrani Hospital. “The other leg may also go. But doctors are wondering whether to make him go through it or not since he has suffered 78 per cent burns,” said Keke.

Anees is on ventilator, fighting multi-organ collapse.

“The injuries in the blast were caused either by tremendous heat and fire or by splinters that hit the victims at massive force, blowing off body parts, causing holes on limbs or mangling them. That is the reason why many have had to go through amputations. Unfortunately almost all the amputees are in their 20s,” said Dr Prachi Sathe, head of the ICU at Ruby Hall Clinic.

At Ruby Hall, Aditya Mehta (26) of Gujarat is admitted with 60 per cent burns and both his legs have had to be amputated.

“Those who received severe splinter injuries leading to amputation got them because of their distance from the bomb. Those closest to the bomb in the bakery died, while those at a distance lost their limbs,” said Sathe.

Apart from injury-related amputations, some victims like Balasubramanyam Natarajan (31) and Atul Anap (30) lost their fingers in the explosion.

Aditya Birla Group employee Sumit Singh had gone to the café with friends — Abhishek Kumar, Rajeev Agarwal and Hrishab.

“Sumit has escaped with 40 per cent burns, but one of Abhishek’s legs had to be amputated. Rajeev has undergone a surgery to remove his mutilated arm. Hrishab has suffered fractures,” said Sumit’s brother Kumar Manish.

Manish rushed from New Delhi to Pune yesterday morning after seeing visuals of an injured Sumit on television.

“I switched on the TV after getting to know of the blast and the first visual that I saw was of my brother with his face burnt. He has fractured one leg, burnt his face and has boils on the body, but he will survive,” he said.

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