I received an SOS call on 2nd Jan 2020 about a mass casualty 12 km away from our headquarters at Sunderbani, Rajouri (J&K). Left lunch uneaten and rushed to the site of the accident. A bus carrying 45 passengers, including women and children, had fallen in a 300 ft deep gorge. It was a scene of utter chaos, cries of pain, and calls for help coming from every direction. As rescue operations began, victims kept on coming to the local hospital, which was quickly out of capacity to handle the load. Being a doctor first and a CRPF officer later, I had to help. I called in my team of pharmacists and the nursing staff, and we started triage. Out of the 20 patients brought in the first round of evacuation, 13 were critical. After stabilizing them and treating their injuries as best I could with the limited means, I had them sent to the Govt Medical College Jammu for specialized care.
The next batch of patients had a little boy almost five years old who was seriously injured with severe respiratory distress. I prayed to my Guru to give me the strength to touch that kid, recently having become a father myself. I did what I had to do and sent the boy onwards to better facilities.
Everywhere relatives of the victims were pleading – ‘Sir, please mere mareez ko dekh lo.’ The four critically injured victims who could be saved had no financial means, so I recommended to my seniors that they be airlifted to Delhi. After the air ambulance left, I turned my attention to the patients remaining.
Apart from the gratefulness of the families and the blessings of the victims that we could save, what mattered most was the feeling that in the great scheme of nature, even a small cog like me has a role.