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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 330

KEM Hospital's response to serial bomb blasts in the Mumbai suburban trains on 11th July 2006: Students' perspective

Seth G. S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
K S Jethwani
Seth G. S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Goenka A H, Jethwani K S. KEM Hospital's response to serial bomb blasts in the Mumbai suburban trains on 11th July 2006: Students' perspective. J Postgrad Med 2006;52:330

How to cite this URL:
Goenka A H, Jethwani K S. KEM Hospital's response to serial bomb blasts in the Mumbai suburban trains on 11th July 2006: Students' perspective. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2006 [cited 2023 Jun 4];52:330. Available from:

At 6:24 pm Indian Standard Time (IST), on 11th July 2006, serial bomb blasts ripped through Mumbai's local trains killing scores of innocent civilians and leaving many more grievously injured. The King Edward VII Memorial (KEM) Hospital and the Seth GS Medical College, the twin medical jewels in the heart of Mumbai, were once again the fulcrum of the disaster-response activities.

7.05 pm - The tragedy unfolds!

The hospital was abuzz with its usual activity until the arrival of the first blast victim almost half an hour after the first blast rocked Khar Road suburban railway station. And then the tragedy unfolded in a flash! The hasty influx of another 5 patients in a mangled state impelled the hospital's Emergency Surgical Registrar (ESR) to make more inquisitions and communicate his concerns to senior surgeons. The inquiries soon revealed the extent of damage that had been inflicted and it was soon realized that many more wounded must be on their way to this hospital. Meanwhile, we, the medical students and interns in the campus became aware of the disaster. Considering the need to mobilize adequate manpower, most of us rushed to the emergency medical services (EMS) complex to offer our services.

Improvisations and gearing-up for the state of affairs

The scene in the EMS was overwhelming for most of us. There was an unrelenting influx of victims into the EMS area but there was no crisis of manpower. Several senior staff members and resident doctors of surgical and orthopedic specialties had already rushed to the EMS and students and interns had begun with the tasks assigned to them. The waiting area and the emergency medical ward were quickly transformed into a temporary emergency surgical ward. Prompt decisions and improvisations were taken to ensure that paper work and usual hospital procedures do not come in the way of providing care to victims. The resident medical doctors took the lead in primary assessment and management to the victims. After initial stabilization, the students escorted them for relevant imaging studies, which helped doctors take appropriate management decisions. However, as the entry of victims continued to flood the emergency services area, we were awestruck to see our senior most professors taking up positions at the doorstep of the hospital, armed with essential medical paraphernalia. They began segregating patients according to the severity of injuries and the kind of management required. Only patients in need of emergency interventions were directed to the emergency ward; while those requiring admissions for other purposes were directed to the nearest in-patient wards in our company. In the wards, we worked under the supervision of seniors on errands such as suturing minor wounds, withdrawing blood samples, inserting catheters, writing orders for the paramedical staff, completing the clinical notes and monitoring vital parameters. Everyone seemed to be going about their jobs as if the whole exercise had been pre-planned to clockwork precision. It was a display that left a lasting impression on our young receptive minds. The dignified manner in which the senior professors worked amidst all the bedlam taught us lessons that no book can ever teach us.

Information and communication

We also helped in addressing the extremely sensitive issue of communicating information to anxious relatives, concerned visiting dignitaries and media persons. Enquiry centers were set up in the hospital, information boards displaying the number and names of the victims (both admitted and brought dead) as well as the wards in which they were being treated were put up outside the hospital. The coordinated efforts of all the individuals saved many restless moments to the harried relatives and helped contain the chaos inside the premises of the hospital. After 5-6 hours of such an exceedingly frenzied activity, things gradually began to calm down. The confusion in the corridors was steadily replaced by an uneasy tranquility. Most of the resident doctors and students slowly pushed towards their rooms with weary bodies but content hearts. However, the unparalleled grief and anguish that we witnessed on this ill-fated day continued to haunt us for a protracted time.


The disaster threw up far too many casualties in an extremely limited time. Our hospital was still able to mount a swift, efficient and sensitive response notwithstanding immense logistical problems. Indeed, Seth GS Medical College and King Edward VII Memorial (KEM) Hospital truly epitomize the credo - "Non sibi sed omnibus - Not for self, but for others!"

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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
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