Legs of 21-yr-old saved but spirit shattered
Accident victim Tausif Khan, 21, was discharged from hospital on Tuesday with his legs saved but his faith in the city of his dreams shattered.
An assistant chef in a housing complex club off the EM Bypass, Tausif had come close to losing his legs after going without treatment for a six-hour period during which three hospitals and two nursing homes refused to take him in citing various reasons.
The boy from Darbhanga, Bihar, recounts his November 4 nightmare — from the accident that nearly killed him at a dimly-lit, poorly-planned intersection on the Bypass to the horror of being turned away by one hospital after another as he lay writhing in pain.
It was like any other weekday for me as I left the Udayan Housing complex club, where I work, around 10.15pm on November 4 along with my colleagues Ali Imam and Md Wasim. The three of us stay in Park Circus and would invariably go home together.
We were chatting and waiting for transport at the Ajoynagar bus stand — either a shuttle cab or the S-24 (bus), whichever came along first. A few other commuters were standing some feet away.
My friends and I would often discuss standing at that spot how speeding vehicles coming from the Garia side were in danger of slamming into vehicles coming from the Santoshpur side because of a slope at the crossing.
How were we to know that our worst fears would come true that night?
I first noticed a Tata 407 hurtling down the dimly-lit stretch from the Garia side at full speed and then a car from the Santoshpur side — I think it was a hatchback — bang in its path, barely a few feet apart.
Just as we were thinking that the lorry would crash into the car, the driver veered left and came straight at us. I tried to get out of the way but the lorry was too fast for me. In a split second, the wheels of the lorry had crushed my legs and I was being dragged under the vehicle. I passed out.
When I regained consciousness for a while, some people were putting me in a taxi. I saw Wasim and Imam among the faces trying to tell me that everything would be fine. I don’t remember when I fell unconscious again.
I learnt later that several vehicles had refused to take me to hospital before one taxi driver relented. But my troubles were far from over.
I remember my friends taking me first to Peerless Hospital. An uncle and some other relatives had also arrived by then but Peerless apparently asked for a huge amount of money as deposit for me to be admitted.
The pain in my body was excruciating, and I can only recall being hauled from one place to another after that. I am told that KPC Medical College and Hospital turned me away because no vascular surgeon was available, while a large state-owned facility like SSKM Hospital could not spare a bed for me. I am told two nursing homes near Park Circus also turned me away.
Fortunately, Desun Hospital took me in and the doctors saved my legs. I can’t thank them enough but Kolkata let me down on my darkest night.
I had come here from my hometown, Darbhanga, as a 17-year-old and fallen in love with the city. I was awestruck by the likes of Science City, Millennium Park and Nicco Park, which I visited with my batchmates at Bengal School of Hotel Management in Garia soon after admission.
Students from Kolkata in my institute always made me feel at home, and I decided then itself that given a choice this city would be my adopted home. But lying in hospital and wondering whether I would ever walk, I couldn’t help thinking how a city could suddenly become so heartless.
I am in this situation for no fault of mine. The government should have paid the Rs 3.5 lakh spent on my treatment because I wouldn’t have landed in hospital had the road been properly planned and speeding been banned. I hope the government will at least ensure that no other person in need of medical attention is shunned the way I was.
Footnote: Dr. Anand Nagwani, the reconstruction surgeon at Desun Hospital (next to Ruby), who led the team that treated Tausif, said the 21-year-old was “very lucky” to escape amputation. “His left ankle and foot were crushed and there were multiple fractures in the tibia and fibula (below the knee) of his right foot. Despite the delay in treatment, we are happy to say that Tausif will walk again,” he said on Tuesday.