Worst injuries include spinal injuries and possible paralysis: Thai doctors treat SQ321 passengers

BANGKOK – It all started with an emergency call on May 21 asking Bangkok’s Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital to take in about 20 injured passengers from nearby Suvarnabhumi Airport.

But every few minutes the number increased.

Finally, the private hospital would provide medical care to 104 patients who were aboard the turbulence-hit Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 after it made an emergency landing in Bangkok late in the afternoon.

“Once I received the activation call, we only had about 15 minutes to prepare, and the first ambulance arrived at the hospital shortly after,” said Dr. Saran Intakul, deputy director of Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, who commanded the hospital’s response to the arrival of people. flight patients.

With around 20 doctors, 50 nurses and dozens of medical staff, the hospital went to work assessing patients arriving in a series of ambulances, before sending them to the appropriate departments for treatment.

“The worst injuries included head bleeding, spinal injuries and possible paralysis,” said the hospital’s trauma director, Dr. Krittanai Thangsakul, who was in charge of treating patients with the most serious injuries.

Meanwhile, the hospital also alerted several backup medical teams, including general surgeons and spine specialists, and the blood bank to be on alert.

SQ321, en route to Singapore from London, experienced sudden extreme turbulence on May 21 over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar.

Information collected from flight tracking site Flightradar24 shows the Boeing 777-300ER rapidly rising and falling into the air in a matter of seconds.

Passengers on board were thrown violently into the cabin, some of them falling from their seats or even hitting the luggage cabins above them.

A 73-year-old British passenger died of a suspected heart attack, while dozens were injured.

The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the plane carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members to make an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 3:45 p.m.

For the next 24 hours, medical workers at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, which admitted most of the affected passengers, worked in shifts, treating at least 10 critical cases and performing a total of nine operations that day.