Monday bloody Monday

Fawad Shah August 04, 2010

KARACHI: The people who were injured in the riots that started Monday evening may have come in the line of  ‘indiscriminate’ fire, this time from the doctors meant to treat them.

Patients whose attendants managed to make their way to the hospitals have received prompt treatment. But this has not necessarily been the case with other patients whose loved ones were either stuck at home or live in another city.

Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Civil Hospital and Qatar Hospital have received at least 235 injured people in the past three days. Forty-three of them don’t have any relatives, said doctors.

These hospitals are facing a shortage of blood and medicines. To exacerbate the situation, welfare organisations and blood banks have been unable to get around Baldia and Orangi towns, perhaps the worst-affected neighbourhoods in the riots.

Irfan Khan, 57, was shot by unidentified motorcyclists when he tried to enter Orangi Town on Monday. He is visiting Karachi from Swat to apply for a visa to Saudi Arabia and was staying at a hotel in Orangi Town.

Khan did not know that Orangi becomes a no-go area during times of unrest and because of this ignorance, he was shot twice, in his foot and his stomach. “I was crying in pain while people around me were shouting slogans on my way to the hospital,” he recalled, adding that he saw several burnt vehicles on the way. The doctors at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital took the bullets out as soon as he arrived but they have yet to operate on him.

“They have also prescribed some medicines that they say are not available in the hospital and will have to be bought from the outside,” he said. The doctors planned to operate on him but later changed their minds, he claimed. As Khan was brought to the hospital in critical condition he qualified for a bag of blood but other survivors who had relatives received “five to six bags”.

Ishtiaq’s family lives in the city but even he could not get blood. The 43-year-old shoemaker was injured in the violence on Tuesday. He was shot twice and lost a lot of blood yet he remains helpless as his wife has been unable to reach him.

“They say you have a rare blood group and we cannot provide blood,” he said, adding that his wife is the only person whose blood group matches his.

According to the procedure, a relative of the injured person is sent to the blood bank inside the hospital and asked to donate blood in exchange for a bag that matches the group they want.

“When there are emergency cases we provide free blood otherwise we exchange blood,” confirmed Ali, an official at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital told The Express Tribune.

Given this need, the Awami National Party (ANP) has started its own blood-donation campaign and its workers are lining up for donations to party activists who have taken a hit.

“We have volunteers and whenever it’s needed we give blood to our activists and pay for their medicines,” said Bashir Jan, a senior leader of the ANP, who is also heading the hospital’s committee.

Dr Shiraz of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital said, however, that the situation was under control. The doctors faced some problems, initially, but they always do in emergency cases, he clarified. “We are providing free blood bags and medicines that are available in the hospital,” he added.

Meanwhile, other doctors at the emergency ward of the hospital said that they are helpless when it comes to a rare blood group, such as O-negative and AB-negative. Two of the victims admitted at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital have succumbed to their injuries.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2010.


azy | 11 years ago | Reply i want my city's peace back =s
sidra | 11 years ago | Reply its heart wrenching to see people of the same country cutting each others throat!
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