Balasore train tragedy: Survivors showing post-traumatic stress disorder tendencies, say doctors

odisha train accident
Odisha train accident. Photo: AFP

Cuttack (Odisha): Eight days after the shocking rail tragedy, which claimed the lives of 288 passengers in Odisha's Balasore, those who survived the accident are yet to come to terms with the horrors of the devastating event.

Even as many Balasore triple train accident survivors are recovering from physical injuries, around 40 of the 105 patients admitted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack are showing a tendency of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), doctors said on Saturday.

Considering the mental health condition of the survivors, the hospital has started counselling all patients, Dr Jashobanta Mahapatra, associate professor of the Clinical Psychology Department, said.

Dr Mahapatra said it was natural for such an accident to have a severe impact on the minds of the survivors.

"Many were found to be severely stressed, fearful, panicked at times and silent. We are counselling them and talking to them along with their family members," he said.

Dr Mahapatra said the hospital has set up four teams to counsel the survivors.

"Each team comprises a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker and one or two members of the patient's family," he said.

The survivors often wake up from their sleep after dreaming about the accident, a nurse in the surgery department said, adding that the attendants keep a constant vigil on all patients.

A 23-year-old man, whose both hands and legs have been broken in the accident, fails to sleep during the day or at night.

"He fears to close his eyes as scenes of the accident flash before him," a doctor said, adding that the man was rescued from under a seat where he was for three hours.

Another young man, who lost his close friend, often wakes up from sleep calling out his friend's name, another doctor said, adding that some patients are just staring at the wall.

Of the 105 patients being treated at the hospital, three have completely lost their legs, while others have broken their legs and limbs and some have sustained injury on their spinal cord.

"These patients cry on seeing their condition while some others laugh hysterically," another doctor said, adding that these symptoms can be cured with time.

Claiming that all the patients are stable, Dr Mahapatra said he is optimistic that each survivor will recover from the mental stress while adding that some other sensitive patients may require some more time than others.

(With PTI inputs)

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