Mumbai: It truly takes a village, and one with its heart in the right place, to raise a child and be there for it at all times, especially in emergencies, and this was demonstrated by some caring citizens who simply knew so, and had, in all probability, not even heard of the book by the former US presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton. A 12-year-old girl from Thane narrowly escaped disaster on Friday, thanks to the joint efforts of a school watchman, an Amazon delivery executive, a local resident and a doctor on Friday morning.
The incident occurred at the Vasant Vihar Municipal School around 10.45 am on Friday, when the 12-year-old girl, who studies there, was playing near the gate. Suddenly, the air was rent with her screams mingled with the school watchman’s cries for help, which were heard by Ravi Bhandari, 28, a delivery executive with Amazon, who was passing by on his bike.
“I jumped off my bike, left it on the road, and rushed to the gate. As I got closer, I saw that a metal piece of the gate, which had been jutting out, had embedded itself in the right side of the girl’s face, very close to her eye. The girl was terrified and any movement on her part could have resulted in a more serious injury,” Bhandari recalled.
Realising that the priority at that moment was to prevent further damage, Bhandari held the gate with both hands and held it firmly in place, all the time telling the girl to not move and assuring her that everything would be alright.
At the same time, a corporate professional, Pratik Salunke, who lives across the street from the school, heard the commotion from the balcony of his third-floor apartment and came rushing down.
“It was pouring and there was chaos all around. No one was ready to stop and help, despite the watchman’s pleas. The motorists passing by were irked by the fact that Bhandari’s bike was in their way and spoke the only language they know – incessant honking,” Salunke recalled.
At the behest of Bhandari and Salunke, one of the onlookers ran to the Vasant Vihar hospital, about 100 metres away from the school. A team headed by Dr Mushtaq Khan rushed to the spot immediately.
“Dr Khan realised that the only option was to cut the metal piece, so that the girl could be brought to the hospital. He called me up and we decided that the only equipment we could use was an implant cutter, which we use in amputations. With this tool, the metal piece stuck in the girl’s cheek was separated from the rest of the gate and she was rushed to the hospital,” said Ashwin Shetty, managing director, Vasant Vihar Hospital.
With the risk of further injury safely out of the way, the doctors proceeded to remove the embedded piece of metal. Her parents had reached the hospital by this point, extremely distressed about their daughter’s plight.
Ravi Bhandari |
“We told them there was no reason to worry. The metal piece was successfully removed, after which the laceration was sewn up and we told the parents to bring her back for a follow-up visit on Sunday. The hospital did not charge them any money for the treatment,” said Shetty.
Bhandari, who has been working with Amazon for a year, said, “It was easily the most terrifying experience of my life. I have a two-and-a-half year-old daughter and I can’t stop thinking about what I would have done if, God forbid, something like this happened to her.”
Meanwhile, the Thane Municipal Corporation has initiated an inquiry into the incident.“This is a serious incident and the safety of students in our schools is our top priority. We’re asking the school to send a report to us immediately. Swift and strict action will be taken in case of any negligence,” said Sandeep Malvi, Additional Commissioner, TMC.