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Hooch tragedy: Civic hospital ill-equipped to handle patients

hooch tragedy

Mumbai: Days after the Malad hooch tragedy claimed over 100 lives, health officials have woken up to the reality that civic hospital and private clinics in the vicinity did not have proper infrastructure to cope with the huge flow of patients.

Dr Mangesh Budhkar, Deputy Medical Superintendent at Shatabdi Hospital in Kandivali conceded that they did not have dialysis facility and hence the hospital administration had to shift few victims to nearby facilities or clinics.

“In our hospital, we do not have dialysis facility that can handle acute and critically-ill patients and so we had to transfer most of the patients to nearby clinics,” he said.

“Out of 131 patients that we hospitalised, most of them were in extremely critical condition when admitted..we referred them to private clinics, while there were so many patients who were declared dead on arrival,” he added.

Currently, five hooch patients are undergoing treatment at the civic hospital.

On the failure of civic health officials in handling such a situation, Dr Ashish Tiwari, a medical expert and CEO of Zynova (pvt) hospital in suburban Ghatkopar said, “In the body, Methanol is converted into a by-product known as formate, which inhibits oxygenation process in cells thus resulting in symptoms of hypoxia and metabolic acidosis.”

“If not treated early, then it attacks the brain and finally the patient succumbs due to respiratory failure,” Tiwari added.

“Delay in reporting by patients, non-availability of dialysis facility and ICU in nearby hospitals and lack of prompt decision making by concerned officials to shift the patients to other eligible centres in the golden-hour period led to this huge death toll (in the hooch tragedy),” he felt.

According to another expert, the patients were affected by methanol toxicity and to treat such patients, health
officials needed acute management infrastructure where apart from stabilising the patient, they should have removed the methanol part that entered into the blood.

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