An aged man died in Tirupati's Sri Venkateswara Ramnarayan (SVR) Ruia Government General Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, while ambulance drivers working at the hospital prevented him from being taken in a private ambulance.
The man has been identified as K Venkatappa, a native of Chittoor district. Speaking to reporters, his son, Venkata Ramana alleged that an 'ambulance mafia' was the reason for his father's death. He alleged that the ambulance drivers working at the government hospital even stole the keys of the private ambulance, which led to his fatherâ€™s death. Reports stated that Venkatappa died as there was no oxygen provided to the patient in the private ambulance as the drivers were arguing.
"As he had many health issues, we wanted to take him home so he could spend his last few days at home. The doctors also approved this, but when a private ambulance arrived, the drivers here snatched the keys and picked up an argument for close to an hour. Now when they checked, he was dead," Venkata Ramana told reporters.
"Our native place is around 12 km from here. The ambulances here said that they will charge Rs 8,500. I know that it is not so costly. I checked online and found an ambulance charging Rs 3,500," he added.
He said that while the hospital took good care of his father, it was what happened after they stepped out that led to the death.
SVR Ruia hospital medical superintendent Dr T Bharati told reporters that she had taken stock of the situation. She spoke to the family members and said that they were conducting an enquiry to ascertain what had happened.
She also clarified that patients were free to book their private ambulances and vehicles to shift patients.
The ambulance drivers at the government hospital denied the allegations and said that they had charged Rs 8,500 as the patient's family had asked for an ambulance with ventilator facilities, which the private ambulance did not have, which led to the death.
Speaking to TNM, an official from the Alipiri police station said that it was a 'minor' issue. "The family did not file a complaint but the driver of the private ambulance filed a complaint alleging that he was assaulted. We are looking into the matter and taking legal advice on whether a case should be registered," the official said.