Mumbai: Ambulance charges Rs 8,000 for transporting Covid-19 patient for 200 metres | Mumbai News

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MUMBAI: One person’s adversity is another’s advantage. A coronavirus positive patient was charged Rs 8000 by a private ambulance owner for transporting her to a mere distance of 200 metres. The incident came to light after the patient’s relative made a video of the ambulance’s driver insisting on demanding this exorbitant fare and the video went viral.
On June 1 a Kurla resident was admitted to Habib Hospital in Kurla with Covid-19 symptoms. Next day when the middle-aged patient’s reports came positive and the hospital told her relatives to take her to another hospital as Habib didn’t have facilities to treat Covid-19 positive patients. “I called Just Dial and inquired about a private ambulance as government-provided ambulance was not available. I was directed to contact Mobile Care, an ambulance service in Jarimari. They sent an ambulance and said they would charge Rs 10,000,” said the patient’s brother-in-law. He said that since the patient needed oxygen and transporting her to another hospital in a normal vehicle was risky, he bargained and brought the fare down to Rs 8,000. She was transported in the ambulance from Habib Hospital to Fauzia Hospital, a mere 200 metres away.
After she admitted to Fauzia Hospital which has facilities to treat Covid-19 positive patients, he came down to pay the ambulance driver. “I told him to take a little less. We were ready to pay even for the PPE kits the driver had used. Yet he said his owner would not take less than Rs 8,000,”said Shaikh. “I paid the amount but also made a video of the entire incident.” She is recuperating there.
Ambulance’s owner Mohammed Ismaeel justified the hiked fare. “Due to the lockdown, most of the drivers have left Mumbai for their home in UP and Bihar. Around 80% of ambulances are standing still because there are not enough drivers to operate them. We have to pay for the sanitizers and the PPE kits of three staff per ambulance. Where will we get to pay for all that unless we get adequate fare?,” said Ismaeel. The ambulance owner didn’t give a bill to the patient and now denies that he was never paid. He alleged that he has received threatening calls from different places in India and even from Dubai.
BJP politician and national president of Nav Bharatiya Shiv Vahtuk Sanghtana, Haji Arafat Shaikh. who lives close to Fauzia Hospital said that Covid-19 patients are suffering because of “bad planning” and “mismanagement” on the part of the state government. “I suggested that three or four floors of parking lots at the International Airport be converted into temporary isolation centres for Covid-19 positive patients. They didn’t heed to it and built a massive isolation centre at Bandra Kurla Complex which suffers from lack of staff. If they could get trains to transport migrants, they could have got enough ambulances too. But due to lack of ambulances and beds at hospitals, many patients are dying,” alleged Shaikh.
Samajwadi Party MLA Rais Shaikh said that a month ago a private ambulance owner had demanded Rs 1500 to transport a Covid 19 positive patient from Breach Candy Hospital to KEM Hospital, a distance of mere 6 kms. “I refused to pay and took the patient in a private car,” said Shaikh.



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