Fellow travellers say lack of immediate medical attention is to blame
A resident of Hebbagodi here, travelling by the Rajdhani Express from New Delhi to Bangalore, died of a massive cardiac arrest onboard the train on Thursday night. Fellow passengers, who did their best to resuscitate him, said the train was not equipped to deal with a medical crisis and did not even have a proper first-aid kit.
Prakash (52), who was travelling in a three-tier, air-conditioned coach, suffered a heart attack a few kilometres before Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. Deepak Solanki, a resident of Mysore and an eyewitness, told The Hindu that they had boarded the train on May 22 night from New Delhi. The travelling ticket examiner (TTE) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel failed to extend any help to the victim, he said.
The first-aid box, Mr. Solaki said, had just one paracetamol tablet and a bandage roll. Two doctors onboard tried their best to revive Mr. Prakash through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Though the train was made to stop at Itkyala station, about 20 km before Kurnool, no medical aid was made available there. The nearest railway station, where the 108 ambulance service was available, was Kurnool and before the train could reach there, the victim had breathed his last, Mr. Solanki said.
Shocked by the lack of preparedness for a medical crisis and the absence of any standard procedure on India’s premier superfast train, the passengers were even more upset to learn that victim had an unconfirmed e-ticket for a berth in a two-tier AC coach but was allowed to travel in three-tier AC coach. Mr. Solanki pointed out that rules prohibit those with unconfirmed e-tickets boarding the train. Secondly, the victim’s body and his belongings were handed over at the Kurnool station without any ‘mahazar’ (spot inspection) in the presence of other passengers, he said.
Railway authorities, terming Mr. Prakash’s death “unfortunate”, told The Hindu that it was “physically impossible” to have doctors onboard trains.
“We have had many incidents where people in need of emergency medical aid were shifted to hospitals with the help of the 108 ambulance service by stopping trains at the nearest station,” said a top South Western Railway official.
Incidents like cardiac arrest cannot be treated onboard trains and victims have to be shifted to hospitals having treatment facility, he said.