Girl critical after ambulance fails to arrive on time

The family of a 13-year-old girl who attempted suicide on Saturday afternoon has blamed non-availability of ambulance service on time for her current critical condition.

Bhargavi R is now battling for her life at St Philomena’s Hospital. The family said non-availability of ambulance forced them to admit her in a private hospital though they cannot afford the treatment.

On Saturday afternoon, Bhargavi’s mother Dhanalakshmi returned home in Viveknagar only to find her daughter hanging from the ceiling. The family tried to get a 108 ambulance but in vain. Bhargavi was initially moved to a private hospital near Viveknagar. When she was shunted out for the non-availability of ventilators, Bhargavi’s family brought her to St Philomena's Hospital in an autorickshaw.

Her uncle K P Mani said they tried calling the 108 service for nearly three hours. “Initially, they sent the one without a ventilator. But the doctors here had recommended that we shift her to a hospital of our choice only in the one which had life support. We started calling the 108 service at 2:15 pm but the ambulance that we had sought for arrived only at 5:15pm,” he claimed.

Mani said since they could not afford to move her in a private ambulance, he called 108 a couple of times later. Following this, he said that an automated message from the other end said that he had been misusing the service and this was against law after which his number was blocked.

Syed Suhale Parveez, Senior Manager of GVK EMRI, said the family called the 108 service at 3 pm and an ambulance was sent to the hospital by 3:15 pm. However, he said that they refused to take the service and sought the ones with ventilator support.

“We paged two ambulances from Shantinagar and Koramangala immediately. Both of them were already ferrying patients. While one was taking a patient to Bowring Hospital, another was going to Nimhans. The one which was headed to Nimhans dropped the patient and came back to St Philomena’s at 5:15pm,” he said.

With 1,500 of 108 Arogya Kavacha ambulance drivers and paramedics on a protest for a week now, it is the BMTC and KSRTC drivers who have been running these vehicles with staff nurses doubling as paramedics.  However, in the City, according to GVK EMRI, 94 per cent of the ambulances are on road.

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