Did Hyd man die as ambulance door could not be opened? 108 service refutes allegations

While the EMRI insists that the victim died before being loaded into the ambulance, those who attended to the victim claim he was still alive when the ambulance door was jammed.
Did Hyd man die as ambulance door could not be opened? 108 service refutes allegations
Did Hyd man die as ambulance door could not be opened? 108 service refutes allegations
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Hyderabad man suffering from a cardiac arrest died on Tuesday allegedly as a result of delay in receiving emergency medical care from the ambulance due to its jammed door. The GVK-run EMRI which operates the service says the victim had died before the emergency medical team could revive him. However those who called for the ambulance claim the victim was alive during the “eight to ten” minutes that the ambulance door was jammed.

The victim’s attenders have alleged that poor maintenance of the ambulance resulted in the victim's death. Various news reports and blogs blamed the ambulance staff while others blamed the ambulance for causing the delay in providing emergency assistance to the victim, identified as C Anand, a carpenter by profession and resident of Jillelaguda.

He suffered cardiac arrest on Tuesday while on an MMTS train from Begumpet to Faluknuma. According to eyewitnesses, Anand complained of a chest plain somewhere close to the Bharathnagar.

At 7:15 PM the EMRI call centre received a call from an attender requesting assistance and an ambulance was dispatched from Dilsukhnagar to pick up the victim from Malakpet railway station. EMRI and the Chaderghat police say the ambulance arrived within 9 minutes. The train carrying the victim arrived a few minutes later according to the EMRI.

"The ambulance arrived early and called the victim’s attender but his phone was switched off, but they waited. Moments later four people came forward carrying the victim and immediately our emergency medical personnel rushed to the victim to see the condition but there was no pulse, he had already passed away," said Brahmananda Rao, Chief Operating Officer, GVK-EMRI that operates the 108 services in Hyderabad.

According to the EMRI, Anand was already dead, however, Sayed Mazar, a cab driver and an attender of the victim insist that he was still alive when they brought him to the Malakpet railway station and waited for the door to open. The eyewitnesses claim the ambulance door was jammed for 8 to 10 minutes.

An unidentified youth who claimed to be an anaesthesia technician with Global hospital in the city, said "He was frothing at the mouth and the defibrillator was not working, the monitor to see heart rate and know the status of the patient was also not working in the ambulance."

EMRI confirmed that the door jammed and could not be opened for "four to five minutes" but denied it as a reason contributing to Anand's demise. "The pilot tried to open to door, but in the first attempt, he could not, the mob that didn't know the victim had already passed away tried to open the door themselves but couldn't. What they don't know is that the ambulance doors have to be opened in a special manner, you have to open one and then the other," says Rao who is of the view that it was a rare instance, "That very team and ambulance had assisted 5 other emergencies, there were no problems then," he insists. The door was finally opened by the driver and Anand's body was taken inside the ambulance.

"Fortunately there was a doctor in the crowd who came forward and with our team tried to revive the patient, the doctor also realised the victim was brought dead and informed the Emergency Medical Team (EMT)," adds Rao.

Sayed Mazarh, however, said, "We brought him to the station and all the while we took care of him, called his family, we asked them to come to Malakpet railway station, called 108. The ambulance was already there but the door wasn't opening for 8-10 minutes, the person died due to this. The 108 service is good but its maintenance is very bad," says the victim’s attender who wants the states Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao to improve the system so that the public won't lose faith in the service.

"We tried a lot to save his life and brought him all the way here. He was alive until we got off the train and brought him to the ambulance. We rubbed his hand and feet, pumped his chest. After we put him in the vehicle also he was gasping. There were a few medical students who came forward and tried to revive him. I was talking to him on the train," added Mazar.

EMRI insists that Anand died before he was taken into the ambulance.

The body was not taken to a hospital it was taken to the Chaderghat police station in the ambulance at the insistence of the victim’s attenders who alleged negligence.

"The allegation as by the victim's attendee who tried a lot to save a life is understandable, he got frustrated and vented his anger on all the people and gave statements," says Rao.

The family has not registered a complaint, according to G Nagaraju Inspector Chadharghat police station, "The person died of a heart attack, there were allegations of delay but we inspected and found that the ambulance responded on time."

EMRI says those who are alleging negligence are free to file a case to get a postmortem done to ascertain the time of death.

When asked about the complaints made by the public about the poor maintenance of the ambulances, EMRI responded by saying that all the ambulances were replaced by the Telangana state government in 2017 and 2018. EMRI insists that ambulances are checked every day before being inducted into service. "There is a  checklist of things that the driver needs to take care of daily. The doors are one of them. They check engine oil, water, air-conditioning, another technician is there who checks the functioning of the medical equipment and devices onboard the vehicle," said the CEO.

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