Lightning kills Mumbai doctor at relief camp
September 23, 2008: The Indian Express
As a medical student with the Preventive and Social Medicine Department, Chandrakant Patil (25) eagerly volunteered to be a part of the first team offering medical relief to victims of the Kosi flood. Barely a week into his stay in Bihar, the 24-year old doctor met with an untimely end after he was struck by lightning late on Sunday night at the relief camp being run by film director Prakash Jha in Kataiya. His body was being brought to Mumbai on Monday on its way to his hometown in Dhule.
"There was some distance between their place of residence and the tent which held all the equipment. While they were walking towards the tent last night, there was a sudden thunder storm and he was struck by lightning. He was not wearing any footwear at that time," said Dr Amit Nohwar, Patil's batchmate at the King Edward Memorial hospital in Parel. He was part of a team of 40 doctors from Mumbai's health department was assisting in medical relief operations after a call for help from the Bihar Government.
Inmates of the camp said Dr Patil suffered serious burn injuries and was taken to the Referral Hospital at Simrahi where he was declared brought dead. Lab technician Ramchandra also suffered serious burn injuries. Patil had been treating patients at the relief camps in Raghopur, Simrahi, Birpur and Kataiya for the past week.
Patil was a "bright student" having secured a place in both the SSC and HSC examinations. Patil's father Umakant works in a mill back home. Patil completed his MBBS degree from B J Medical College, Pune and joined KEM Hospital three months ago.
"His death has come as a shock to his parents. His mother is in hospital," said Anil Dudhabhate, general secretary of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD). "He was a very friendly, hardworking resident doctor, with a keen interest in social work, something he planned to pursue," Dudhbhate remembered.
The 40 resident doctors from Nair Hospital, KEM Hospital and Sion Hospital were sent to the six worst affected districts in Bihar, to help with flood relief operations. Five of them returned on Monday evening, while the rest will come back on Tuesday evening.
"The entire team is in shock. We will come to know if the team is returning in an hour as they are coming with the body now. Our current priority is to ensure that the body reaches his residence and the last rites are duly performed. Details of compensation and other matters will be determined by the BMC officials in due course," said KEM Dean Dr M E Yeolekar. MARD which had supported the team's visit and stay in Bihar is planning to appeal to the state government to offer some relief for Patil's family.