Pune: Barely four months into its operations, Maharashtra Emergency Medical Service (MEMS) faces its first emergency situation when 33-year-old Yerwada-based labourer Pravin Rathod died after the helpline refused to provide emergency medical services citing that he was already undergoing a treatment in private hospital.
Aimed at providing free pre-hospital emergency medical services to people at night, MEMS officials claimed that government norms restrict them from providing such services to patients of private hospitals.
In a complaint to the Yerwada police station, Pravin’s sister Sarita Rathod alleged that MEMS helpline’s refusal to provide aid in time claimed her brother’s life. Sarita told dna, “On the midnight of May 23, his wife called me saying he was complaining of chest pain and feeling restless. We took him to a nearby clinic run by Dr Subhash Kokane. After initial examination, Dr Kokane advised us to take him to the another hospital.”
“Pravin’s ECG showed that he had suffered massive heart attack and had to be kept on ventilator. He required to be shifted to another hospital. When his sister told me that they did not have a vehicle, so I contacted the helpline on 108 four times asking them to help the patient,” said Dr Kokane, adding, “The operator told me that they can not provide the service as he was already undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Seeing that no help was being provided by the helpline, I, along with family members, managed to get a rickshaw and took him to another hospital.”
Pravin was taken to another private hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
On Sunday evening, Sarita approached Yerawada police station and submitted a complaint against MEMS. Inspector S A Patil, in-charge of the Yerawada police station, said they were investigating the matter.
In a statement, Dr Dnyaneshwar Shelke, chief operating officer at BVG India Limited who runs MEMS stated, “The demise of Pravin Rathod is very sad. For running emergency services, the government have given us norms, which mention that the services will be given to needy persons and such services are only limited to citizen. In this case, the doctor from private hospital had called our helpline and we are not liable to render the service to private hospitals.”