Woman operates oxygen auto outside Chennai hospital

May 23, 2021 12:00 am | Updated 03:51 am IST - CHENNAI

Seetha Devi started the service after her mother died due to lack of oxygen

Timely service:Seetha Devi has so far helped 300 persons.

Timely service:Seetha Devi has so far helped 300 persons.

On May 1, R. Seetha Devi, 36, waited outside the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) to admit her 65-year-old mother, who had tested positive for COVID-19. After many hours, they managed to get her admitted to the Government Stanley Hospital, but she died.

To prevent others from struggling like her mother, Ms. Seetha Devi has started an autorickshaw oxygen service outside the RGGGH, where her mother waited for hours.

“My mother R. Vijaya, who was under dialysis, would have been saved had we got oxygen on time. However, in the first week of May, there were many patients outside the RGGGH, which was over-burdened. Hence, I decided to start this oxygen auto service,” explains Ms. Seetha Devi, who runs an NGO called Street Vision Social Charitable Trust.

It renders help to transgenders, HIV-affected women and children and provides free tuition to children in slums. “We have an autorickshaw that was used to rescue homeless people as part of ‘Kaval Karangal’. I fitted it with oxygen cylinders and started the service on May 6. In case someone needs oxygen immediately, my volunteers, wearing PPE suits, seat in the vehicle and provide oxygen,” she said.

She has helped 300 persons so far. “Recently a lady was brought with very low oxygen levels. I made her sit and after her levels improved, she managed to get admission to an ICU ward at the RGGGH. The family was very thankful. She reminded me of my mother,” Ms. Seetha Devi said.

Transporting patients

She also transports patients, recommended by doctors at the RGGGH, to other hospitals and COVID-19 Care Centres.

Lingaraj from Kundrathur, who was saved with the help of the oxygen auto on Saturday, said he was indebted to Ms. Seetha. “My oxygen levels dropped to 72%, but I was made to sit in the autorickshaw and I was given oxygen. It increased to 92%,” he said.

Ms. Seetha Devi added that she would be happy to help more people. “I am planning to get more autorickshaws and fit them with oxygen cylinders. But I am struggling for money,” she said.

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