“He was gasping for breath when we reached SSKM Hospital. Ten minutes after admission, the doctors declared him dead.”
Janmejoy Ghosh spent three hours running from one hospital to another with his 6-year-old son Bibhas and wife Sita — who were grievously injured in a low-intensity blast at Kolkata’s Nagerbazar — Tuesday morning. While the blast occurred at around 9 am, Bibhas and Sita were finally admitted to SSKM Hospital at 12.30 pm, where the Class II student passed away as his mother battled for life.
Bibhas’s family originally hailed from Kulpi, South 24 Parganas. His father works in a sweet shop in Dumdum’s Motijheel area, while his mother works as a domestic help. For the past few years, they had been staying in a rented house in Arjunpur. Bibhas studied in K K Hindi Academy School in Nagerbazar.
Since Tuesday was a holiday for Bibhas on account of Gandhi Jayanti, Sita had decided to take him to work. They were walking towards the building where she worked when the blast took place. Police sources said they were closest to the jute bag full of explosives placed next to the pavement.
Janmejoy and local residents who accompanied the family in an ambulance said they rushed to a private nursing home nearby, a private hospital 14 km away, and finally to the state-run SSKM hospital in Rabindra Sadan another 10 km away, where they reached around 12.40 pm. “At SSKM, the doctors first asked us to stand in queue and get a ticket. Finally, my wife and son were admitted. But I lost my boy soon after. My wife is still critical,” he said.
“At the nursing home where we went first, the doctors told us that there was no child care or burn unit. We rushed to another private hospital in Park Circus, where they provided a saline drip and referred us to SSKM,” he added.
Janmejoy fainted when he heard of Bibhas’s death. “We are poor so we could not take them to big private hospitals. My boy got treated very late,” he added.
Employees at the nursing home in Dumdum and the hospital in Park Circus declined comment when contacted by The Indian Express.
Prof Raghunath Misra, Superintendent, SSKM, said: “I was informed by a journalist that the victims of the Dum Dum blast are here and waiting. Immediately, I called the emergency wing and told them not to bother about tickets or official work, and to admit them. It’s a fact that they reached here late. I met the mother in the ward. I intervened personally so that time would not be wasted.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, doctors at SSKM said Bibhas suffered “major burn injuries with parts of his face and torso complete burnt”. Sita suffered 30 per cent burns, “with other serious injuries”, and is currently in the critical care unit.
Bibhas’s elder brother Bikas, a Class X student was also seen at the hospital with other family members. “We would all have celebrated Bibhas’s birthday on the fifth of this month. This morning he was walking holding his mother’s hand and the blast took place. He was the youngest and most loved in the family. We cannot accept that he is no more,” said Purnima Roy, his aunt.
Of the nine people admitted to the state-run R G Kar Medical College Hospital and SSKM Hospital, three are in critical condition, said doctors.
At R G Kar Hospital, Mograhat resident Ajit Haldar, a fruit vendor, is undergoing treatment for critical injuries. The blast took place right in front of his shop on the pavement. His relative Jhuma Haldar said, “We don’t know how he is now. We came to know about the incident through the news and then police informed the family. The lower part of his body has been severely damaged. God knows how we will survive this ordeal.”
Subhram Dey, a resident of Green Park in Lake Town, sustained injuries while he was passing by. He had to be shifted to the Bhangor Institute of Neurology after his condition deteriorated.