COVID-19: Bhopal autorickshaw driver turns his vehicle into free ambulance
In a heart-warming story that restores our faith in humanity, an autorickshaw driver from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh has converted his three-wheeler vehicle into an ambulance, complete with oxygen support. Javed Khan, 34, has been ferrying patients to and from hospitals in the city for more than two weeks now, without charging them a penny. Here's more on this.
According to a report by The Times of India, Khan has helped eight to 10 people in just last three days. He said he could not sit at home seeing people's suffering. "Though no one has been infected in my family, I was very disturbed by the rising death toll and wanted to do something about it with the resources I have," he said.
Khan, who has been driving autos for 18 years, said the deed was his family's idea. He has installed an oxygen cylinder in the three-wheeler, and put sanitizers and medicines in it. He also stopped accepting passengers so he can devote all his time to the needy. Khan has put information about the service on social media and urged other drivers to join him.
Khan said he sold his wife's gold locket to manage the expenses. He spends around Rs. 600 every day filling up the oxygen cylinder. "Buying the oxygen is a cumbersome task. I have to wait for 4-5 hours to get the cylinder refilled." He said he would continue serving people even if he has to borrow money. "My priority is to save the people."
Sulekha Prabahwalkar, who availed Khan's auto service to get her husband hospitalized, calls him an "angel." "On April 26, I was running from pillar to post to get my husband hospitalized for COVID-19. There was no ambulance available. We took Javed bhai's help. We had to go to several hospitals to find a bed but he didn't take even a paisa," she told TOI.
Several states across India have been facing an acute shortage of ambulances, medical oxygen, and other basic facilities as the country has been gripped by a dreadful second wave of the pandemic. In the last 24 hours, India reported 3.86 lakh fresh infections - the highest-ever one-day surge for any nation. 3,498 more fatalities took the death toll past 2.08 lakh.