'Emergency auto ambulance,' an initiative helping COVID-19 patients in Chennai
At a time when oxygen is in high demand amid the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, with people scampering for hospital beds with oxygen supply, a Chennai-based NGO is reaching out to the needy in makeshift ambulances with the life-saving gas. This "emergency auto ambulance" is also being used by patients who are home quarantined and in dire need of it.
These ambulances promptly respond to callers seeking medical oxygen
Chennai-based Kadamai Educational and Social Welfare Trust is operating innovative auto ambulances, albeit in a smaller radius in the northern parts, but is fast turning out to be a much sought-after service. These emergency auto ambulances are operated by six persons on a shift basis and they respond promptly to callers who seek medical oxygen to improve their oxygen levels.
The service currently operates in the north Chennai area
"A jumbo hospital oxygen cylinder from the clinic we run and another cylinder that we obtained from an industrial unit, both of 47-liter capacity, were fitted to two autos to provide oxygen to the people in north Chennai," TC Kumaraswamy, a member of the Trust said. "Presently, we operate only within a 15 km radius in north Chennai," Kumaraswamy added.
Trust receives 150 to 200 calls daily
On average, the trust receives about 150 to 200 calls a day. On Monday night, an ambulance ferrying a coronavirus patient ran out of oxygen and its driver approached the trust for help. "The 64-year-old patient from Royapuram was administered oxygen from our auto and he was taken to the hospital later," Kumaraswamy said.
Service restricted to patients who can comfortably sit in auto
"The service is restricted to patients who could sit comfortably in the auto," Kumaraswamy said. "We have been running the service successfully for the twelfth day today. We respond to requests also from people who have no access to ambulances or oxygen cylinders at home," C Vasantha Kumar, Founder-Secretary of the trust said.
Another volunteer organization has launched 'Help Chennai breathe' campaign
Further, another metro-based volunteer organization has launched a "Help Chennai breathe" campaign, aimed at crowdfunding a sum of Rs. three crore to provide equipment like 420 oxygen cylinders and 240 oxygen concentrators to five government hospitals in Chennai. Gayathri Suryanarayanan of Samarpana said that she launched the initiative after her own experience with oxygen issues.
Organization has successfully raised around Rs. 25 lakh
After being told by various officials of the instances where people wait for beds without oxygen in hospitals, Suryanarayanan said that she started the crowdfunding initiative. The effort has helped the organization raise about Rs. 25 lakh.