Tamil Nadu

Travails of an ESI hospital COVID-19 positive worker

A conservancy worker spraying disinfectants at the Narasa Street in Avinashi town panchayat, from where a 59-year-old COVID-19 positive patient went on a two-wheeler to get himself admitted at Tiruppur Government Medical College Hospital. Photo: Special Arrangement

A conservancy worker spraying disinfectants at the Narasa Street in Avinashi town panchayat, from where a 59-year-old COVID-19 positive patient went on a two-wheeler to get himself admitted at Tiruppur Government Medical College Hospital. Photo: Special Arrangement  

A 59-year-old man from Avinashi, who tested positive for COVID-19, went to the Tiruppur Governnment Medical College Hospital riding pillion on a two-wheeler to get himself admitted after waiting for over 12 hours in vain for an ‘108’ ambulance to pick him up.

Sources in the Health Department told The Hindu that he was a hospital worker at Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore, who was residing at Narasa Street in Avinashi.

The Health Department informed him that he was COVID-19 positive on Wednesday afternoon, following which he dialled the ‘108’ helpline for an ambulance. However, despite him making multiple calls, none of the ambulances was able to reach his residence as all were occupied. After waiting past midnight with no sign of ambulance, he asked his son to drive him to Tiruppur Government Medical College Hospital in the early hours of Thursday, sources said.

Requesting anonymity, a sanitation inspector from Avinashi town panchayat, who followed him to the hospital, said that the ‘108’ ambulance was initially scheduled to arrive at 1.15 p.m. on Wednesday, which was repeatedly getting postponed to 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. “He isolated himself inside the house and we locked the gates from the outside to ensure he did not come out,” he said.

“He obeyed all of our directions, so it is only fair to give him this chance,” the inspector said when asked why he agreed to this proposal. He, along with a police officer from Avinashi police station, followed him on the 18-km drive to Tiruppur Government Medical College Hospital and the patient was admitted at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday.

Son quarantined

Both the father and the son wore masks during the drive and the 21-year-old son, who drove the two-wheeler, was later placed under house quarantine, he noted. Around 75 swab samples, including from all the family members of the patient, were lifted from the residents of Narasa Street as of Friday, the sanitation inspector said.

Sources at ESI Hospital confirmed that the man was employed there as a hospital worker. He was assisting the staff nurses at the COVID-19 ward. His swab sample was lifted on Sunday, according to the hospital sources.

Health Department sources acknowledged that the lack of adequate number of ambulances for Tiruppur district must be addressed at the earliest. Although COVID-19 patients could visit hospitals in their own vehicles for admission, driving all the way in a two-wheeler was a highly unsafe act, according to the sources.

When contacted, District Collector K. Vijayakarthikeyan said the entire route from the patient’s residence in Avinashi to the hospital in Tiruppur Corporation limits was disinfected.

“We are inquiring into [this issue] and will take necessary action. Private ambulances are also to be [made] available compulsorily in cases of emergency,” he told The Hindu, noting that private ambulances had already been instructed to be readily available.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 7:39:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/travails-of-an-esi-hospital-covid-19-positive-worker/article31983238.ece

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