At Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital, Mounees Khan (7) has been undergoing treatment for the past fortnight in the paediatric ward, his burnt facial skin now gradually recovering.
He was bursting firecrackers outside his home in Sion a day after Diwali when he went too close. “His eyes were swollen. And his entire face was burnt. We first took him to a local doctor but medicines did not work,” said his mother Zareena Khan.
Mounees underwent plastic surgery at GT hospital. The recovery will take a long time. Currently his face is half burnt, but signs of healing are visible. “I hope his face looks like it did before,” his worried mother says, adding that children in slums often do not take precautions while bursting crackers.
Dr Sunil Keswani, director, National Burns Centre in Airoli, said, “There are two types of burn injuries during Diwali, one caused by diyas and the other by firecrackers. Compared to last year, the number of patients has reduced. We received 25 patients of whom 19 were kids and six were adults.”
Most of such patients suffer from second-degree burns that require two-week-long treatment followed by regular dressing.
“Only one or two patients required surgery. Most of the injuries were on the hands and face,” Keswani added.
His hospital, the only specialised centre to treat burn patients, also got three women who suffered second degree burns after their clothes caught fire after coming in contact with diyas. One of them continues to be in hospital.
Doctors claim Diwali injuries to children are mostly caused by anars and chakris.
Seven-year-old Aditya Deshmukh from Vashi suffered an injury in his right hand while lighting a chakri.
“During Diwali, my cousins and I were bursting crackers. I was trying to light the chakri but it didn’t burn, so I tried again. The chakri exploded and my hand got burnt,” he said. He has to visit the hospital every three days to change the dressing and apply ointment.
Another child, Powai-based Rubin Mehta (13) suffered injuries while lighting an anar. “When the cracker exploded, I couldn’t react immediately. It burst on my right hand. I think the quality of the firecracker was bad,” he says adding that he was fortunate to turn his face away from cracker.