The Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), which offers medical assistance anywhere in the state on the 108-prefixed toll-free number, attended 1,286 calls related to burns patients from January till March this year.
Pune district had the highest number of calls (96) followed by Mumbai (83). Palghar and Ratnagiri registered 60 calls each in last three months. Again, Pune district led in the number of burns patients attended by the state-run ambulance services in 2016 and 2017.
Last year, MEMS attended 241 calls to assist burns patients in Pune district. In 2016, the number was 274. MEMS has attended nearly 25 lakh emergency patients since its launch on January 26, 2014 till March this year, officials said.
Meanwhile, in Pune, at the government-run Sassoon general hospital, 637 burns patients were treated last year, 135 of them children. Very few private hospitals have dedicated burns units.
At the Surya multi specialty hospital, doctors said there was a rise in number of children being treated for burns. At the 75-bed hospital, 59 burns patients were admitted between January and March this year. At least 12 were in the 0-5 age group.
Last year, there were 187 cases, 39 of them children in the 0-5 age group. Dr Jaisingh Shinde, who is a director at the hospital, said they had a 10-bed unit dedicated to treat burn injuries. Some children are less than a year old and, in several cases, it is due to carelessness of family members that the child suffered from burns, either mild or severe, a doctor said.
“Either hot tea fell on the child or he/she was left alone in the toilet momentarily, where the child accidentally put his/her hand in hot water. We also have had cases where the child fell in an utensil with sambhar in it,” Dr Shinde said.
In 2016, there were 238 admissions at the hospital’s burns unit, 44 of them children in the 0-5 age group. “Children who come in mostly have 15-20 per cent burns. But there are a few who have over 45 per cent burns. Last year in March, there was a two-year-old who had 70-75 per cent burns. In February, there was a 10-month-old girl who had suffered 50-55 per cent burns while a one-year-old girl with 45-50 per cent burns was admitted last month,” a doctor said.
At Sassoon general hospital’s burns unit, 637 patients were admitted last year: 229 men, 273 women and 135 children, said Dr Ajay Taware, medical superintendent.
However, Dr Dasmit Singh, paediatric surgeon at Sassoon hospital and Jehangir hospital, said there was no major rise in number of children with burn injuries.
“A few years ago, we used to treat at least one child with severe burns per week but that is now down to a few cases in a year,” he said.
Rising temperatures during summer is always a challenge for the PMC’s fire department as fire incidents tend to shoot up. Of 730 calls between January and March, 203 were due to garbage burning while 241 were minor fire accidents at homes, shops or offices. Short-circuits, vehicle fires and garbage burning are behind most fire calls, said Prashant Ranpise, chief of PMC’s fire department.
The Fire Service Week is observed nationwide from April 14 to 20 in remembrance of the lives lost in the devastating fire on April 14, 1944 at Victoria Dock in Bombay Port and also to prevent industrial fires. “The National Safety Council has been promoting the FSW Campaign since 1999 with a view to spread fire safety awareness among employees, their families and the public,” said Suhas Baxi, MD, Konecranes, South Asia.
Fire safety audit can be an effective tool to assess fire safety standards of an organisation. “The firm has a proactive system of reporting unsafe conditions and near-miss accidents at factory premises to make workplaces safe,” Baxi said.