Doctors word of caution on use of firecrackers

New Delhi: Ahead of Diwali, doctors at leading government hospitals here have sounded a word of caution on use of firecrackers as they prepare themselves to deal with the festive rush.

Five government hospitals — Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia (RML), Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB), Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU), and Lok Nayak (LN) hospitals — are bracing to deal with cases related to burn injuries and fire cracker accidents.

Dr Karoon Agrawal, head of the Burns and Plastic Surgery department at Safdarjung hospital, said people generally suffer hand and face injuries on Diwali and appealed to all to take necessary precautions while using firecrackers.

“Despite educating them, people, especially children and youth, often try to burn crackers in their hands, which results in mishaps. Children should be supervised while burning crackers and one should light crackers nearby people.

“Then there is an attempt to relight crackers which often lead to accidents,” said Dr Agrawal, adding that buckets of water should be kept handy in case of an injury.

According to him, the Burn ward last year had witnessed around 300 cases of burns on Diwali of which around 50 per cent were children.

Arrangements have been made at RML hospital in order to facilitate speedy treatment for patients coming with burns.

“We have this provision of setting up direct casualty in this department on the festival day so that the patients with burn injuries can come here directly to get first aid. Usually patients start coming from 5 PM and they continue till 4 AM,” said Dr V K Tiwari, HoD of the hospital’s Burns and Plastic Surgery department.

He said that apart from putting extra beds, the Disaster ward has been readied to handle any mass emergency.

Arrangements like dressing materials, bandages and other essentials to treat burn cases have put into place at Lok Nayak hospital and GTB hospital.

“A special roster of doctors including ophthalmologists and paramedics has been prepared for the day,” said Dr Dhananjay Kumar, consultant Burn and plastic surgeon at GTB.

Eye injuries are also common during Diwali, said Dr Praveen Malik, Head of Department of Opthalmology at RML, as he urged people to take precautionary measures while bursting crackers.

“Small crackers cause common injuries such as mild burns in the eyelashes or eyelids. But heavy crackers such as rockets can cause serious damage to the cornea including injury to the optic nerve leading to permanent loss of vision,” he said, adding in case of any injury, one should consult a doctor without wasting time on judging the intensity of an injury.