Medical staff battle to save lives of victims
Posted Sunday, July 1 2012 at 22:13
The provincial hospital in Garissa was on Sunday turned into a bloody mess.
It is where more than half of the 66 people injured in grenade and gun attacks at two churches underwent treatment.
Medical personnel, among them four surgeons and five anaesthetists, airlifted from Nairobi, attended to the survivors.
The Kenya Red Cross, the Kenya Defence Force and St John Ambulance summoned their medical personnel in the region to assist in emergency treatment of victims.
Seven people had serious wounds in the chest, legs, face and hands. Most of them writhed in pain four hours after the attack as they lay on hospital beds awaiting treatment.
Most of the people injured were from the Africa Inland Church in Garissa Town. Others were from the Catholic Church on Ngamia Road.
The provincial medical health officer, Dr Mohammed Sheikh, said the hospital required emergency personnel.
“This is the third blast in Garissa. There is need for emergency preparedness at this hospital,” Dr Sheikh said.
The seven who were in serious condition were flown to Nairobi for specialised treatment.
Three were airlifted by Amref Flying Doctors, two by the Kenya Army and two others by the Intensive Care Air Ambulance.
The first helicopter arrived at Wilson Airport at 6.10pm carrying two victims. Two others arrived at 6.15pm, the fifth at 6.45pm and the last two shortly afterwards.
All the patients were taken to Kenyatta National Hospital. The Rev Joseph Mutunga, head pastor of AIC, said he first heard a loud bang from the tin roof of the church.
“We thought it was the usual stone-throwing that happens. When I looked outside the window, I saw a person whose face was covered in a blue fabric. I didn’t think much of it,” the Rev Mutunga told the Nation at Garissa Provincial Hospital, where his wife was admitted.
Pandemonium followed. “There was a massive explosion. Everybody in the church went down. We did not know what had hit us.
Then the shooting began. For about five minutes, everyone lay flat on their stomachs.
When the firing stopped, we all ran out. I can’t say I saw much; it all happened in a flash,” the Rev Mutunga said.
“A young man who was sitting at the back of the church saw two attackers come through the gate.
“Since we have policemen attached to the church every Sunday, the young man alerted the officers. But as they turned to see what the alarm was about, they were met with bullets,” he said.