No ambulances for accident victims | Thiruvananthapuram News

Thiruvananthapuram: When 46-year-old Suresh met with an accident at a construction site in the city on Thursday, fire and rescue services personnel rushed to the spot.
They found that his injuries were serious in nature and dialled 108 for an ambulance. But they received a reply that there were no ambulances available at that moment. After waiting for a few more minutes, the fire force officials took the injured in their Quick Response Vehicle fitted with essential tools and a mini-water tender to the nearest hospital. But, their efforts went in vain as the injured soon succumbed to his injuries.
“The reply we received from the control room of the 108-ambulance service was that all ambulances in the city were currently engaged in Covid-19 related activities such as transporting patients as well as suspected cases,” said an officer attached to the Thiruvananthapuram fire station office.
Unfortunately, the only police ambulance too was busy at that time. Though, the fire department too has an ambulance, it is currently in a bad condition after being used non-stop for distribution of essential medicines to patients across the state during the initial phase of the lockdown.
The officer said this was not a one-off incident and it had been the case ever since life almost came back to normal following relaxation of lockdown rules .
Two days before this incident, a man who met with a road accident had to be taken to a hospital in a private ambulance after waiting for more than 15 minutes as 108 ambulances were not available. The same night, another young man, who met with an accident at Poonthura, lay on the road for around 30 minutes before he was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle.
There are 29 ambulances under 108 ambulance service in the district. At present, 27 ambulances are reserved for Covid duty. The remaining two that have been exempted from Covid duty services are at Neyyatinkara and Palode, forcing people on other parts of the district, including those in city limits, to rely on private ambulances.
“For accident victims, relying on private ambulances can be a burden as their services are not free,” the officer said, adding that ever since lockdown regulations were lifted, minor accidents have become frequent on roads and absence of government’s ambulance service was a cause for concern.
Sources in the health department said that there are around 40 ambulances in all at the government hospitals in the district. City police commissioner Balramkumar Upadhyay too admitted that the lack of emergency ambulance services is a serious issue. “City police have one ambulance, but, it is not enough to attend all the cases,” the commissioner said, adding that he will take up the matter with the district health authorities and seek an alternative arrangement until the crisis is over. The rural district police too have one ambulance.

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