Denied oxygen, newborn dies in ambulance

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Oct 3:

Newborn dies as callous 102 ambulance services driver refuses to put oxygen on newborn without cash and drives 117 km to its death.

Ambulance 102

Natives of Balasore, Narahari Sankhua’s wife Gitanjali gave birth to a baby boy on September 30 in Soro hospital. After the baby developed breathing problems it was transferred to district headquarters hospital in Balasore. There, the baby’s condition deteriorated and he was referred to Shisu Bhawan in Cuttack, yesterday. At 8:40 am, Narahari along with his wife and baby took a 102 ambulance to Cuttack. There was no other staffer except the driver in the ambulance.

The infant developed breathing problems and doctors advised them to take the infant to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics also called Sishu bhawan, in Cuttack for further treatment. They advised the baby to be given oxygen.

The family members along with the baby travelled in a free of cost 102 national services ambulance to Cuttack. Midway through the 117 km journey the driver asked money for putting oxygen to the baby.

The 102 National Ambulance Services was inaugurated in 11 July 2015 for the free referral transport of pregnant women and sick infants under Janani Sishu Surakhya Karyakram (JSSK) programme in Odisha.

Midway through the journey the driver asked for Rs 3,000 to put oxygen to the baby. Unable to pay such a huge amount the poor parents, they begged for mercy to the driver but he refused to put the newborn on oxygen. Narahari was forced to part with Rs 600, and then he asked him to buy food for him. He stooped to drink and asked for Rs 100 for gutka. But even after so much harassment he did not put the baby in oxygen. They reached Sishu Bhawan on 12:30 pm. The heartless driver threw the personal belongings of the bereaved parents on road and left them holding the dead baby in their hands. He also took away the referral papers of Balasore hospital from Narhari, as well as, the return card for the ambulance issued to him.

Narhari has filed a case against the driver in Lalbag police station here.

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