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Musheerabad: Ambulances with no oxygen turn hearse

Ambulances with no oxygen turn hearse
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Ambulances with no oxygen turn hearse

Highlights

  • About 50 ambulances wait at Gandhi Hospital; carry at least 8 bodies everyday
  • Second wave deadliest and worst compared to the first one, say ambulance drivers
  • With no oxygen in ambulance, drivers now transport dead for last rites

Musheerabad: Silence is punctuated by the wail of ambulance sirens as dead bodies are being shifted from hospital to crematoriums and graveyards.

Not fully equipped with provisions like oxygen in their vehicles, scores of private ambulance service at Gandhi Hospital in Musheerabad, now transport Covid-19 dead bodies to crematoriums or graveyards. Shiva has stopped picking up patients as he has no supply of oxygen in his ambulance.

Since demand for transporting dead to crematorium is on the rise, he is busy on this service.

"We don't have oxygen cylinders and patients who need to come to the hospital need oxygen, so we are transporting bodies from Gandhi to the nearest crematorium," says Shiva.

The State-run Gandhi Hospital, which has been once again turned into the nodal Covid-19 facility, has government ambulance services but only for critical Covid-19 patients. With Telangana on Friday reporting 29 Covid-19 deaths (most of them at the Gandhi Hospital), the private ambulances remained busy in shifting the bodies.

By afternoon, ambulance driver Naveen Kumar had taken seven bodies from Gandhi Hospital to the Punjagutta crematorium. Kumar said, "The first phase was nothing when compared to the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 and what we are seeing today is shocking."

He could not share more experience, as he sped away with the body to be delivered to a specified location.

Like Kumar, there are more than 50 ambulance drivers who are on their toes and avoid going to their houses and sleeping in the same vehicles during night hours.

Another ambulance driver at Gandhi said that since the first week of April and till date he had transported 30 bodies. "On average, we are transporting eight to ten bodies to the crematoriums every day," said Ramesh.

It is also being learnt from the ambulance drivers that they have also started pre-booking facility, observing the situation where kin of the deceased had to wait for hours outside the hospital and the body remains inside the hospital wrapped in protective gear, waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Some drivers said that they are not returning to their homes and are sleeping in their vehicle so that they don't infect their family members.

A few of the drivers have been recently recovered from the infection and are back to their duties. Apart from transporting the bodies, these drivers are trained to sanitise the bodies.

"Sometimes tears come to our eyes, by witnessing the level of suffering in the current wave," said an ambulance driver at the Gandhi Hospital.

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