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Health workers in ambulance try to flee leaving patient on sidewalk in Kolkata

An ambulance driver and staff allegedly tried to flee after leaving a patient on the sidewalk in Kolkata. The incident triggered corona-panic in the area.

Health workers in ambulance try to flee leaving patient on sidewalk in Kolkata
Bengaluru, First Published May 2, 2020, 10:25 AM IST

Kolkata: Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, some health workers allegedly tried to flee after leaving a patient on the footpath in the Nakatala area of Kolkata. The incident triggered panic in the area as the world currently is battling coronavirus pandemic. Later, it was known that the patient wasn't coronavirus positive. Still, according to the locals, it is a matter of grave negligence, and termed it inhuman too.

An ambulance reportedly stopped at Naktala second scheme area of Kolkata around 2.30 pm on Thursday. Two people, wearing PPEs, came out of it. There was another one. Although he was not wearing PPE, his face was covered with a surgical mask.

The locals claimed that they tried to drop a patient from the ambulance there and escape. During this pandemic situation, naturally the locals got scared and stopped the ambulance, inquired with the healthworkers.  

The health workers said they came from MR Bangur Hospital. The patient was supposed to be dropped at his home in Naktala area. However, the patient could not recognise the house. They also claimed they had talked to the local Netaji Nagar police. They said the police would come soon and take the man to his destination.

But, the locals were not convinced at all. The patient was not known to anyone in the area. Moreover, they were coming from a known COVID-19 hospital. So the locals suspected it might be an attempt to leave a coronavirus positive patient there. Even though he wasn't COVID-19 positive, leaving a patient on the sidewalk was utterly inhumane. So the locals started protesting. In the end, the health workers picked up the patient in the ambulance and said they were going back to Bangur Hospital. 

Later, a team from Netaji Nagar police station came to the spot. They claimed they had not spoken to any ambulance staff or health workers. They came after receiving the news of the incident from a resident. The area was sanitised at the initiative of the police. They also noted the number of the mysterious ambulance. 

Initial investigation of the police revealed that the ambulance really came from MR Bangur Hospital. The patient, named Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, is a resident of Behala in Kolkata. A couple of days ago, he was admitted to the hospital with severe back pain. Attempts were made to send him elsewhere as COVID-19 patients were being treated at the hospital. At that time, the patient's brother requested the hospital to send him to a relative's house in Nakatala.

On Thursday, the ambulance took Siddhartha Banerjee to his relative's house. However, the relative refused to allow Siddhartha to stay there as he was coming from a COVID Hospital. Later, with the consent of Siddhartha's brother, the ambulance took him to another hospital.

Even then, a serious question remains unanswered. Why the ambulance staff tried to flee leaving the patient on the sidewalk? “That's not supposed to happen. The ambulance should have returned the patient to the hospital. I am looking into the matter,” said an official of the West Bengal health department on Friday.

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