Community members say the decision was prompted by incidents where patients in the neighbourhood had to wait hours for an ambulance to reach their doorstep.

Six residents of Bengaluru's Kanakapura pose near the exclusive ambulance they have hired for the next six months
Coronavirus Coronavirus Sunday, July 19, 2020 - 15:19

Worried about not getting an ambulance when needed during the COVID-19 crisis, a confederation of resident welfare associations (RWAs) in Bengaluru, under Change Makers of Kanakapura, has rented an ambulance for their exclusive use for the next six months.

Speaking to TNM, Abdul Aleem, one of the members of the community, said that the decision was taken after a resident in the neighbourhood died following a heart attack due to the late arrival of the ambulance about a month ago.

In another incident, which also contributed to the community’s decision, a man who suffered a heart attack and was facing breathing difficulties was denied ambulance service fearing he had COVID-19. Later the family had to take him to the hospital in their personal vehicle. Both of these incidents involved private hospitals.

“We’ve started this service for ourselves from Friday, it’s like an insurance for us. We have hired the ambulance from a private ambulance service. It has all the required facilities like oxygen and ventilator support. We also have five sets of personal protective equipment (PPEs), and once a patient avails the ambulance service, we’ll replace them with new ones. All of this comes to around Rs 2 lakh per month, which works out to Rs 60 for a family monthly,” Abdul said.

Along with two ambulance drivers, the 3,700-family strong community has also hired three intensive care unit trained nurses who will work in shifts.

The group comprises mostly residents of apartment complexes on the Kanakapura Road starting from Sarakki Signal to the NICE road junction.

It may be recalled that many patients had to wait long hours as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials were struggling to transport patients to designated hospitals after they tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Even in a meeting convened by Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday, the CM directed officials to ensure the arrival of ambulance to the doorstep of the infected persons within two hours of being tested positive.

Earlier on Thursday, a man protested outside the CM’s house after being unable to arrange an ambulance for his family. It was only after the CMO staff made arrangements that he could shift his kin to the hospital.

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