Prashanth Ramayya and his wife Pranathi are still struggling with the shock and grief of the death of Prashant’s father, Gurijala Rama Chandra Murthy.

Cabs arrive in three minutes why not ambulances Son of Hyd man who didnt get help on timeWikimedia Commons
news Ambulance Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 19:58

Prashanth Ramayya and his wife Pranathi are still struggling with the shock and grief of the death of Prashant’s father, Gurijala Rama Chandra Murthy. But amidst their grief, there is also anger, when they think about how Rama Chandra’s life slipped away even as an ambulance they had called did not come.

On June 21, after the family finished eating dinner at their residence in Panchavati Colony in Manikonda, Hyderabad, Rama Chandra and his wife went to bed. Soon after, the younger couple heard the sound of breaking glass and found Rama Chandra struggling to breathe. When a nebuliser failed to restore his normal breathing, and he vomited, they decided to call 108 for an ambulance. 

''My husband was really panicked, so I called the ambulance,” says Pranathi. “I was shocked to hear from the ambulance driver that he doesn't know where Manikonda is and which the nearest hospital is either.  He was also unable to understand my directions.”

In desperation, Pranathi passed the phone on to one of the neighbors, asking them to explain the directions, and rushed to a nearby apartment where her relatives stayed. As the family’s car was not working, she hoped that they could borrow a car from her relatives. But unfortunately no one answered the door there.

And worse, “When I came back to my apartment what I saw was my neighbour still talking to the 108 ambulance driver and explaining our address.”

Finally, Pranathi says, they managed to get a car from a friend in the apartment and drove Rama Chandra to Apollo Hospital in Film Nagar. However, after trying to revive him, doctors declared that he was dead. “The doctor told me that we were too late. He said, ‘If you had brought him 10 or 20 minutes earlier, we could have saved him, but now we are helpless.”

The question burning in Prashanth’s and Pranathi’s mind is why emergency services are delayed for such a long time. Prashanth has taken to social media to draw attention to their case and ensure it does not happen to anyone else. Thus, he tweeted asking Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development, KT Rama Rao, why ambulances take so long to arrive when cabs are available within a few minutes.

He also posted a longer message on Facebook, pointing out that valuable time that could have been used to save his father’s life was instead lost explaining the directions to their house.

Pranathi adds, “We can take the patient in our personal vehicles, but ambulances can provide first aid and have ventilators, so ambulances are always preferable for such emergencies.”  

She also reveals that after Prashanth posted his experience online, they received many responses from people narrating similar incidents. “We wanted to create awareness among people, so my husband posted this incident on Facebook and Twitter. So many people reacted and we got to know that we are not the first ones who lost a family member because of (delay by) 108 ambulances.”

“If Ola and Uber cabs reach in a few minutes, then how come ambulances can take an hour when it is only meant for emergencies?” she asks. “I don't understand what the government is doing. The Telangana government is trying to build an IT hub in Hyderabad, but why are they not using technology properly for ambulance services? What is the use of high-tech buildings and brands in Hyderabad when the government is not working on emergencies facilities like 108?” 

Pranathi says that she later called back the service to get the details of the persons who were in-charge of the service that night, so that she could file a complaint against them. However, she alleges, that she was refused any such details.

At the time of writing, Prashanth’s public posts had not received a response from the Minister or other authorities yet. 


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