Life-saving equipment lying unused

He said that "we could not prepare the necessary team and policy" because they had to deal quickly with Covid-19 patients. He also stated that they couldn't fix the time allowances for doctors and nurses for the service or the ambulance fare.

During a recent trip to RMCH, the correspondent witnessed Ashraful Ali, an ambulance driver, opening the garage and switching on the ICU ambulance. He also powered up electronic equipment within the vehicle.

Officials at the hospital said that there are 40 types of life-saving equipment in the ambulance, including a mobile ventilator, an ECG monitor and a defibrillator.

The correspondent noticed that all apparatuses had been wrapped in plastic. The ambulance driver arrived half an hour later and started to cool everything. He then closed the garage's shutters.

Ali stated, "I do it almost every day, turning the vehicle and equipment on so that the machines don’t rust."

He said that "none" had asked for an ambulance and added that there was no fare for the vehicle's operation. Transporting patients to Dhaka is charged at Tk 5,600 by normal ambulances.

A cardiologist from RMCH stated that many deaths could have avoided if an ambulance had been available.

He claimed, in anonymity, that the ambulance could provide emergency services immediately after picking up patients and potentially save lives. Authorities are not using such a useful vehicle because they don't see the need.

Ahmed Shafi Uddin (President of Sushasoner Jonno Nagarik, Sujan), Rajshahi Chapter) said that authorities should investigate the negligence.

"Not all citizens can afford to hire an air ambulance for critically ill patients. He said that this [ICU] ambulance might have offered some hope for them."

Shafi called on the authorities to provide high-end ambulance services to save lives.

According to the RMCH director, they had spoken with high-ranking government officials and were instructed to operate the ambulance as a regular one. It is not yet known if the specialized equipment will be used in such operations.

"We will officially launch the ambulance in seven days. He added that if someone would like the ambulance to be launched before it launches, they will let it go on rental at normal rates."


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