By Arré Bench Jul. 14, 2020
A Telangana doctor was also forced to fill in for an ambulance driver. The doctor, Pendyala Sriram, had to transport a Covid-19 patient’s body in a tractor, because the hospital had no ambulance, or a mortuary, where the body could be kept for longer. The ambulance driver was too scared to ferry the body.
Since the coronavirus pandemic struck, there has been a lot of pressure on healthcare professionals. From having to treat thousands of suspected Covid-19 patients with very clunky protective gear, to working long hours to counter staff shortage, life hasn’t been easy. Now, according to a recent report, a Telangana doctor was also forced to fill in for an ambulance driver.
After a Covid-19 patient died in a hospital on Sunday, the doctor treating him was left with no option but to transport the body to the crematorium himself. The driver assigned to the task, the report said, was too scared to transport the body, and the hospital was already low on staff.
But that’s not all. Reports also said the doctor, Pendyala Sriram, also had to transport the body in a tractor, because the hospital had no ambulance, or a mortuary, where the body could be kept for longer.
Another doctor told the Hindustan Times that the staff weren’t aware of the procedure to deal with a Covid-19 death, since it was their first case.
Over the last couple of days, a clip of the Telangana doctor transporting the body in a tractor has been shared widely on social media.
#Telangana– From a stethoscope to a steering wheel. Doctor Sreeram working at Sultanabad Goverment Hospital, Peddapalli district drove a tractor carrying body of a #Covid_19 deceased after municipal staff refused to take the body to the crematorium. #Hyderabad pic.twitter.com/tDJCt620KD
— Rishika Sadam (@RishikaSadam) July 13, 2020
“It had already been six hours since the patient had died. The family was getting restive. The staff was not comfortable seeing a body still lying there,” doctor Sriram was quoted as saying. “I just wanted to set an example and show that there is nothing to fear.”
Due to these very fears, there have been at least three cases where officials were caught mishandling bodies in the previous week alone.
A recent video shot in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore apparently shows officials dumping the bodies of three patients into an open grave with the help of an earthmover.
Last week, meanwhile, a man was spotted in Telangana transporting the body of a patient in an autorickshaw.
Probe ordered after Telangana man carries Covid-19 dead body in auto-rickshaw. Follow Telangana, Andhra Pradesh Coronavirus Live Updateshttps://t.co/2RWktMgppc
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) July 12, 2020
After Sunday’s incident, the state’s finance minister extended his wishes to the Telangana doctor. “You have proved humanity is still alive. You made us experience God in humans. You are an inspiration to all those who are fighting this battle against corona.” he tweeted.
And indeed, if it weren’t for the efforts of people like doctor Sriram, the pandemic would have certainly been a whole lot worse.