Testing times for ambulance crew members in Tiruchi

An ambulance crew answering the call of duty in Tiruchi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Ambulance drivers and helpers allocated for transport of COVID-19 patients are an overstretched lot.

Of the 12 ambulances allotted for Tiruchi city, four have been assigned for COVID-19 duty with each zone of Tiruchi Corporation getting one vehicle. But with at least 500 patients testing positive each day in the city, the resources are just not enough to meet the situation, ambulance drivers and workers said.

Mahalakshmi (name changed on request), an assistant on a ‘108’ ambulance, work lasts at least 12 hours a day. A mother of a one-year-old girl, the last few weeks have been chaotic to say the least. Her husband, an ambulance driver, and their daughter, have been in the care of her mother-in-law.

“I have not seen my baby in a month, I have not been able to partake in her attempts to talk or walk,” she rues.

The work of ambulance crews begin at 9 a.m. after a list of patients who require to be picked up is sent to them by health inspectors. They make trips to the homes of patients to to take them to either Covid Care Centres (CCC) in the city, or to Tiruchi Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital.

“As per the referral slip given to patients from nearby primary healthcare centres, we take them to CCC or Tiruchi GH,” she said.

Five to seven patients are taken on a trip from a locality to ensure that they reach their destination by the end of day.

Contrary to popular belief, Mahalakshmi says it is easier to transport patients who need immediate medical attention compared to those with mild symptoms “Patients who need to be rushed to GH usually remain quiet. It is not the case with others.”

A representative of ‘108’ ambulances in Tiruchi says that compared to last year, the fleet has been strengthened this year. “We had only five vehicles last year. This time, we have 12, of which four has been allotted to the city for COVID-19 care. One each has been given to rural government hospitals and non-COVID care.”

All 12 ambulances are fitted with two 12KL oxygen tanks, he adds.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 8:58:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/testing-times-for-ambulance-crew-members-in-tiruchi/article34567450.ece

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