In a shocking act of insensitivity by the Maharashtra civic authorities, a 26-year-old coronavirus positive patient from Dombivli was made to walk to a local civil hospital on Thursday after the municipal corporation refused to send an ambulance to pick up the patient even after repeated requests.
According to the reports, the patient walked all the way to Shastrinagar civic hospital in Dombivli on Thursday after the hospital staff had asked him to walk to the hospital, a distance of 3km away, as an ambulance was not available.
“After my COVID report on Wednesday showed I was infected, I was asked to wait at home till an ambulance is sent by the civic hospital staff. On Thursday morning, I called up the Shastrinagar hospital for an ambulance but they said there was no ambulance available. They asked me to walk to the hospital as arranging an ambulance would take time,” said the patient, who works as a ward boy at Wadia hospital in Parel.
No ambulance for corona positive patient in dombivali so he had to walk 2kms to reach hospital on his own.— आलू बोंडा (@ek_aalu_bonda) May 21, 2020
ab aise vdos krenge toh kahenge ki u r महाराष्ट्र द्रोही & doing politics. pic.twitter.com/mEgzHHQdNj
Social workers accompany patient to the hospital
The 26-year-old, however, called up the local social worker Bala Mhatre, who along with five others accompanied him to hospital by creating a circle around him, to ensure any unknown person does not come near the patient and risk infection. A video of him travelling with social workers was posted on social media to draw the attention of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation. The video has gone viral across social media platforms.
The patient said that a 52-year-old relative of his, who had tested positive, had died on May 16. He had attended the funeral and the test report of the deceased had only come after his death. “I decided to get tested,” said the 26-year-old patient.
The patient added that the neighbours got scared and insisted he leave the building after he tested positive.
Social worker Mhatre questioned the laxity of the civic authorities and said how can the civic hospital ask a coronavirus patient to walk to the hospital. According to Mhatre, the patient does not have any symptoms yet. “This is not the way to treat a patient?” said Mhatre.
Patient made to wait for three hours
Even after the patient was made to walk to the hospital, the authorities at Shastrinagar hospital made him wait for almost three hours and then taken to Tata Amantra quarantine centre on Kalyan-Bhiwandi road.
As per a report in Hindustan Times, Suhasini Badekar, chief medical officer of Shastrinagar civic hospital, said, “The patient should have waited at home till the ambulance arrived. Our staff did not ask him to walk to the hospital. Since COVID cases are on the rise, ambulances are not enough. Private ambulances often refuse to ply.”
The medical officer said that the hospital has two ambulances and they have hired a private one. A senior officer from the KDMC health department said, “If there is a delay in the arrival of an ambulance, a patient should wait. The civic staff will coordinate and send an ambulance as soon as it is available.”
Rising coronavirus cases in Maharashtra
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Maharashtra registered as many as 2,345 new coronavirus cases, taking the total coronavirus tally in the state to 41,642, health officials said. Mumbai alone has crossed the 25,000 mark with 1,382 new cases.
The state also reported 64 deaths due to the pandemic, 41 of them in the worst-hit city of Mumbai, taking the death toll in the state to 1,454. Mumbai alone now accounts for 882 coronavirus deaths.