Rajesh B. Nair
No AMBULANCe SERVICE: The injured person being transported to the Government Hospital in Puducherry on Saturday. Photo: T. Singaravelou
PUDUCHERRY: Timely response from ambulance service providers in Puducherry could have saved a life on Saturday. A 45-year-old man was hit by the Villupuram–Puducherry train at a place between Chinnababusamudram and Puducherry, about 7 km from here. The man, whose left leg got severed, was taken in the same train to Puducherry for treatment. The accident happened at around 10. 30 a.m, according to railway authorities.
The information was passed on to Station Manager S. Manirajan, who directed the duty officer to call the emergency helpline at the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital and Postgraduate Institute for an ambulance.
After his attempt to get an ambulance from Government Hospital failed, he tried other helpline numbers, but could not reach them.
Within ten minutes, the train arrived and there was a scramble to transport the person to the hospital.
When the railway authorities were grappling to find an alternative to transport the injured, a head-load worker volunteered to take the injured to the hospital in his tricycle.
He carried the injured in his open tricycle to the hospital, a distance of 1 km. The accident victim succumbed to his injuries at around 1 p.m.
“We tried all helpline numbers and ambulance service providers. The response from Government Hospital was that they did not have an ambulance,” Mr. Manirajan told The Hindu.
A month ago, a woman whose hand got severed after she was hit by a train had to be transported in a similar manner, he said.
Second such incident
“This was the second time that we got a bad response from ambulance service providers,” he further said.
“Surely, it was not the problem of shortage of ambulances. It was only last week that the government launched ten new ambulances. Such a situation occurs because of official apathy and non-performance of the staff,” Secretary of Federation for People’s Rights G. Sugumaran said.
When contacted, Director of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Dilip Kumar Baliga said “The issue has been brought to our notice. We will initiate disciplinary action against those persons who received the phone call from the railways.”
Lower-level officers in the department had been given direction not to go by the rule book when ever such requests come, he said.
The rules do not allow GH ambulances to be used for shifting accident victims from the spot, he added.
Case of negligence
“Saturday’s incident was a clear case of negligence and such acts would not be tolerated,” he said.
There have been several complaints of lack of proper response from GH to requests for ambulances. The issue was also raised in the Assembly.
The Hindu / 14.12.2008.