Overwhelmed doctors moved hundreds of patients onto the streets of Nepal’s capital on Sunday when aftershocks rattled hospitals and buildings already damaged by an earthquake that killed more than 2,400 people and devastated Kathmandu valley.
Sick and wounded people lay on a dusty road outside Kathmandu Medical College while hospital workers carried more patients out of the building on stretchers and sacks. Doctors set up an operating theatre inside a tent and rushed in the most critical, following a particularly big tremor that sent people running terrified into the streets.
Outside the National Trauma Centre in Kathmandu, patients in wheelchairs who had been under treatment before the earthquake hit joined hundreds of injured with fractured and bloody limbs, who lay inside tents made from hospital sheets.
“We only have one operation theatre here. To be able to provide immediate treatment we require 15 theatres. I am just not able to cope,” said Dipendra Pandey, an orthopaedic surgeon, adding he had done 36 critical operations since Saturday.
Relief agencies and officials said most hospitals were overflowing and short on medical supplies.
Neighbouring countries sent in military transport planes laden with medical supplies, food and water. But little sign of organised relief efforts was visible as aid agencies struggled to fly helicopters in cloudy weather, aftershocks forced the intermittent closure of Kathmandu airport and roads were blocked by landslides.
Many of the seriously injured in Kathmandu were referred to Bir Hospital’s Trauma Centre, which opened in February this year with 200 beds. Children with multiple injuries lay on the dusty marble floors of the hospital, while hundreds of other patients with fractured and bloodied limbs lay on the ground outside the hospital, under tents, as family members struggled to find drinking water and food for them. — Reuters