Two die after waiting in vain for ambulances to arrive

A BMC ambulance leaving Kasturba Hospital.

A BMC ambulance leaving Kasturba Hospital.  

BMC Commissioner said on Tuesday number of ambulances has been increased

At a time when the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claims to have increased the number of ambulances to 455, Mumbaikars continue to suffer due to lack of such vehicles at their times of need.

On Tuesday night, an autorickshaw driver from Goregaon, waited for five hours for an ambulance for his wife, who complained of breathlessness. She finally died without getting one. In another incident on Wednesday, a woman from Sutar Pakhadi, who complained of weakness, also did not get an ambulance in time and passed away.

These two cases are a grim reminder of the present situation in the city.

Municipal Commissioner IS Chahal on Tuesday said that the number of ambulances in Mumbai had gone up from 100 to 455 and they were deployed by the Disaster Management Control Room at the headquarters.

Babbar Yadav, an autorickshaw driver from Goregaon (East), could not get an ambulance for his wife Manbhadevi Yadav (63). She had been suffering from breathlessness since 9.30 p.m. on Tuesday. She was supposed to be taken to Shatabdi Hospital where corporator Vinod Mishra had spoken to the on-duty doctor to look into the case.

“My wife had some health issues. We had run a chest X-ray one week ago where the doctor suspected TB and she was to undergo further tests. She started suffering from breathlessness around 9.30 p.m. and the ambulance driver kept telling me he would be coming in some time. Finally, when he called me at 2.30 a.m., I told him there was no need to come anymore as my wife had died at 11.30 p.m.,” said Mr. Yadav on Wednesday, who had just returned from his wife’s funeral.

“It was only my wife and I in our family. How will I live alone anymore? I want to go back to my village now,” he said desolately.

Mr. Mishra said, “I myself kept trying for an ambulance for Mr. Yadav till 1.30 a.m.. Neither the 108 ambulances nor private ones were available. Patients continue to die due to lack of hospital beds and ambulances. The situation is dire.”

Similarly, Bhiku Pandey’s sister Devi Jagan Pandey, who lived in Sutar Pakhadi, could not get an ambulance in time and passed away on Wednesday.

“My sister had weakness, so we took her to a local doctor but the doctor did not even examine her properly. He gave some medicines. Then her health deteriorated and she could not breathe. We did not get an ambulance despite several attempts. When we tried 108, we were told that no ambulance was available. We even tried private ambulances, but there was no result after several calls. She died on Wednesday noon,” Mr. Pandey said.

Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer of disaster management cell that looks after the daily deployment through 1916 helpline, could not be reached for comment.

Additional municipal commissioner P. Velrasu, who had worked on a project to use the technology of Uber for ambulance deployment, said, “We have been able to use the technology to detect location of ambulances, direct ambulances to patients, and also track them on the way to hospital. Once a patient calls 1916, the system allocates an ambulance to them and the patient gets a message with the driver’s name and contact number. We also want to increase number of ambulances with ICU and ventilator support.”

Officials from 108 ambulance service were also not available for comment.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 1:24:33 PM |

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