On the night of lights, many nearly lost sight

Tragedy
137 cases reported; fewer but more serious injuries than last year

Rita(19) and her husband, 25 year old Rajan, would have never imagined that this Diwali would become so tragic for them. On Diwali night, when Rita was lighting a diya, her saree caught fire. On seeing her in flames, her husband, Rajan ran to save her and in turn also got burn injuries.

While Rita received 100 percent burn injuries, Rajan received 20 per cent burns. "The residents of Desu Majra in Mohali, are admitted to the Burns ICU at the Government Medical and Hospital, Sector 32 where Rita is in a critical condition," say doctors.

Similarly, seven-year-old Geeta is also in critical condition at the PGIMER after she sustained 70 per cent burns during Diwali celebrations.

As per the doctors, the number of children getting injured during Diwali is fewer compared to previous years, the overall cases have increased substantially. Most injuries were due to crackers, especially rockets.

At PGIMER's Advanced Eye Centre, 24 patients of fire cracker-related injuries were presented till today noon. Of these 16 patients were discharged after treatment. Eight patients including three children and five adults were admitted in the wards for surgical procedures.

Rahul, a 12-year-old resident of Kharar, severly damaged his left eye as he was lighting a cracker. "It happened within seconds. We heard him crying all of a sudden and before we could save him, it had hit him in the eye," said Surinder Kumar, Rahul's uncle.

Despite massive campaigning against burning of fire crackers on Diwali, the celebrations of the festival of lights, yet again turned tragic for as many as 140 families in the city with an equal number of eye injury and burn cases reported at the three government hospitals in the city.

By Wednesday afternoon, 137 cases of eye injuries and burn cases caused by firecrackers were reported at PGI, GMCH-32 and GMSH-16.

At GMCH-32, there were total 11 burn cases reported of which four were children aged between 8-10 years. Nine patients have been discharged so far.

In the eye department of the same hospital, a total 16 cases were reported, out of which nine patients have been discharged and seven patients have undergone eye repair surgeries and are still recovering at the hospital.

At GMSH-16, a total of 86 eye injury and burn cases were reported. All the patients were discharged. Doctors on emergency duty provided necessary treatment to 62 burn injury cases and 24 eye injury cases

Incidentally, this year the number of injury cases are higher that compared to last year.

Skin allergy due to toxic chemicals

Besides the numerous burn and eye injury cases, a few cases of skin allergies were also reported during Diwali festivities at various hospitals. Dr Vikas Sharma said: " There were 30 cases of allergic skin reactions secondary to the noxious chemicals generated from crackers. Children and elderly accounted for around 70 per cent of all cases. Few reported with worsening of Atopic Dermatitis and Eczemas. The irony is that among the affected, majority were just watching crackers being lit."

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