Treatment for a critically injured seven-year-old at Stanley Government Hospital was delayed on Monday, after hospital authorities cited shortage of diesel as cause behind inability to shift the boy in an ambulance from the paediatric hospital to the main Stanley hospital.

Hospital sources said, a few days ago, the State government had sanctioned funds for diesel to run two of the hospital’s six ambulances.

According to sources, Rafiq Bashaa, a student of class II, was admitted on last Thursday with severe head injuries, after he slipped from the first floor of his house. He was admitted to the ICU of the Government Hospital for Social Paediatrics, which is attached to the main Stanley hospital and located opposite to it on Old Jail Road.

On Monday, Rafiq was to be shifted from the paediatric hospital to the main Stanley hospital for CT scanning to assess the status of the head injuries. Authorities of the paediatric hospital requested those at the main Stanley hospital at around 9.30 a.m. for an ambulance to be sent from the main hospital to shift the boy. Rafiq’s parents were then told by the paediatric hospital’s authorities to get a CT scan from the main hospital after paying a fee of Rs. 350.

However, authorities at the Stanley hospital cited lack of diesel in one of the ambulances and said the only other available ambulance was away on duty. “Initially, Stanley authorities asked us to shift the boy in a stretcher by road. But when we said that the boy’s condition was critical and transporting him by road might pose a risk due to disturbance from movement and exposure to pollution, Stanley authorities cited lack of diesel,” said an official of the paediatric hospital.

According to a resident medical officer of the hospital, when Rafiq’s parents requested hospital authorities to shift Rafiq in a private ambulance on their expense, hospital authorities refused and said the hospital protocol would not allow it. Instead, they asked the parents to wait until the ambulance returned to the hospital.

Rafiq’s parents finally approached the dean of the hospital. “Nearly four hours and after intervention by the Stanley hospital dean, my boy was shifted to the Stanley hospital at around 12.40 p.m.,” said 29-year-old Amrisha Begam, Rafiq’s mother.

S. Geethalakshmi, dean, Government Stanley Hospital, said there was a delay in shifting the boy due to insensitivity on the part of a few administrative staff. “When the issue came to me, I asked my personal driver to run the ambulance after filling it with diesel. Clear instructions are given to hospital authorities to avoid such delays,” said Dr. Geethalakshmi.

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