108 Ambulance: Saviour in life and death too

108 Ambulance: Saviour in life and death too during the coronavirus crisis

Special Covid-19 ambulances and their staffers at Mangalore International Airport.

As in the first instance, the Ambulance Management Committee again relied on the 108-turned-Special Covid-19 ambulance to shift the second patient, who died of the deadly viral disease, from the district Wenlock hospital to the burial ground for the last rites.

The committee, one among the 15 committees, set up to control the spread of coronavirus in the district, had planned to empanel and utilise services of all ambulance agencies through turns. “When the first patient died of coronavirus a week ago, we 10 ambulances when contacted. But they refused to shift the body from Wenlock Hospital to the nearest burial ground,” committee member Mahalingeshwara Bhat said.

"An ambulance owner, who had agreed to shift the Covid-19 victims, developed cold feet and switched off his cellphone. Thus, we had to request the special Covid-19 ambulance to shift the body to the crematorium. As a precautionary measure, only the driver of Covid-19 ambulance. wearing a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face shield. accompanied the body to the burial ground," he said.

Bhat said many preventive steps, including the disinfection of vehicle, are done to prevent the ambulance staffers from being infected with the coronavirus.

This is not the first time where 108-turned-Covid-19 special ambulances have saved the district administration from acute embarrassment. Since March 8, the 108 Ambulances have been rendering yeomen service.

'Unsung heroes'

Of the total 28 (108) ambulances, seven, including an advanced lifesaver ambulance, have been identified as Special Covid Ambulances. Thus, each taluk has a special Covid-19 ambulance. These special ambulances have completed 225 trips shifting the coronavirus suspected cases from Mangalore International Airport to the district Wenlock hospital.

In all, the ambulances have made 352 trips while shifting patients in self-quarantine from the hospital to their houses. “The staffers are indeed the unsung heroes as they respond even at odd hours and work for long hours putting their lives at risk for good of society,” Bhat said.