Diwali fire accidents on downward trend

The number of burns cases coming for treatment during Diwali has been dipping in the last few years, say doctors at burns wards of hospitals in the city who hope the trend is kept alive this year, too. They say higher level of awareness to make the festival safer was the reason fewer number of people turn up at burns wards during Diwali.

The doctors who were contacted at burns wards, however, said the number of patients coming in with burns throughout the year from household accidents and homicide cases remains high.

At Surya hospital, for instance, the number of patients seeking treatment for burns from Diwali accidents is 5-6 cases, as compared to around 200-250 cases of burns caused by other factors at home. Surya hospital is among the few private hospitals that admit patients with high degree of burns.

"It is only on few days like Lakshmi Pujan and Padwa that we examine some 5-6 patients with burns in our outpatient department," says Dr J S Shinde, managing trustee of Surya hospital. What is shocking is an increase patients getting burn injuries at home, Dr Shinde says. "We examine and treat at least 200-250 patients with domestic burns every year," says Dr Shinde.

The 75-bed hospital has a six-bed burns unit and many patients are not admitted due to lack of space. "We have had eight patients with severe burns this week. Four suffered burns caused by electricity while others were accident or homicide cases," says the doctor. Freak accidents at home, like hot water getting spilled on a two-and-a-half-year-old or a woman receiving 30 per cent burns after a hot container of food slipped and fell on her hands are also reported.

Another private hospital that admits patients with severe burns is Siddharth hospital. Dr Vijay Sethiya there says, "We have a special burns unit with three beds isolated from the rest of other wards. During Diwali, there are young children who come for treatment of burns either on their hand or feet but the injuries are of a minor nature. The festive days do get their share of eight to 10 patients," says Dr Sethiya. Burns from other causes remain high, with 50 patients on an average coming for treatment every year, adds Dr Sethiya.

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