Maha: Man dies of COVID-19, kin allege ambulance delays

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A 53-year-old COVID-19 patient died here in Maharashtra as he could get an oxygen-equipped ambulance in time, his family members have alleged.

The Nagpur Municipal Corporation said it will have to find out why the delay took place and that it has not received any complaint in the matter.

The patient tested positive for coronavirus on August 29 and was under home isolation as he was initially asymptomatic.However, around 8.30 am on Saturday, his pulse rate went down and he started gasping for breath, his cousin told PTI on Monday.

The family members then immediately dialled ‘108’ for an ambulance which arrived after about half-an-hour with a woman doctor, he said.

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The doctor came to the house and checked the victim’s pulse rate. She then made some calls to shift him to a hospital, saying she cannot touch him as he is a COVID-19 patient and they do not have PPE kits, he said.

“We requested the doctor to provide oxygen support to the patient so that he may get time to go to hospital. But, the doctor said the oxygen supply in the ambulance was exhausted. They asked us to inform the civic body to shift the patient to hospital,” the victim’s cousin said.

Finally, an ambulance from the Nagpur Government Medical and College Hospital (GMCH) arrived at their house around 12.30 pm.

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The patient was then taken to the GMCH where he was declared brought dead, he said, adding that the victim would have probably survived if he had got oxygen support and medical aid in time.

When Nagpur Municipal Commissioner Radhakrishnan B was asked about this and other similar complaints of lack of ambulance services, he said, “We will have to examine why the delay took place in this case. We have not received any complaint on this.”

He said they have taken note of incidents of ambulance delays and were soon going to get an additional 80 ambulances for the city.

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“We are trying to provide five ambulances to each zone in the city. They may or may not be equipped with oxygen, but patients would be transported to nearby hospitals in 15 to 20 minutes for treatment without such delays,” he said.

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