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Hospitals, mortuaries struggling to cope

OVERWHELMED: Health workers taking care of injured people outside the Manmohan Memorial Community Hospital. Medics were being helped by an army of volunteers, including foreign tourists who were in Nepal.


    Apr 27, 2015

    Hospitals, mortuaries struggling to cope


    NEPALESE doctors set up makeshift operating theatres in a hospital carpark yesterday, as they worked round the clock to treat the wounded from a monster quake that has left mortuaries overflowing with bodies.

    As disaster officials reported that nearly 6,000 people were injured in Saturday's 7.8-magnitude quake, medics in the impoverished Himalayan nation told of how they had been unable to save some of the most grievously wounded.

    Their efforts were further hampered by fresh aftershocks that were felt throughout much of the morning, making many patients too scared to stay inside medical facilities.

    Samir Acharya, a doctor at Annapurna Neurological Hospital, described how medics were working out of a tent set up in a carpark after being overwhelmed by patients.

    "Most patients have head injuries or fractures," he said, as people wept outside the hospital while they waited for news of loved ones inside.

    With the death toll from the disaster rising above 2,400, hospitals were also struggling to find places to store the bodies.

    At the city's oldest hospital, Bir Hospital, there were around a dozen dead bodies placed on the floor with relatives trying to shoo away the flies.

    A security guard said that around 100 bodies had been taken away for cremation since yesterday morning.

    Medics were being helped by an army of volunteers, including foreign tourists who were in the Himalayan nation when the disaster struck.

    Portuguese tourist Heli Camarinha responded to a plea for help on local television.

    "I was really lucky to have not been injured during the earthquake yesterday. This morning, when I saw on the local news that hospitals needed volunteers, I decided to come here to try and help," said the 28-year-old.

    "I have been doing whatever I can, from cleaning the patient wards, helping transfer them to different hospital floors on the stretcher, basically any way possible."

    One of those being treated at the trauma centre was 25-year-old Suresh Pariyar, who suffered back injuries when a building he was walking past in the capital suddenly pancaked.

    "The earth was shaking and moments later I found myself under the debris in pain," he said.

    "I was begging for help but everyone was running in panic to save themselves. I crawled from under the debris. My friend's 13-year-old son died instantly just metres away from me."