Three-month-old child dies on way to hospitalA seriously ill infant died after Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) supporters obstructed an ambulance at various places along the East-West Highway on Monday.
A seriously ill infant died after Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) supporters obstructed an ambulance at various places along the East-West Highway on Monday.
The ambulance (Sa 1 Cha 659) was heading to Biratnagar from Udayapur carrying a three-month-old boy, Lal Bahadur Budhathoki, who was running a temperature and was suffering from some other health complications.
Dhan Bahadur Budhathoki, the father of the deceased child, was taking him to Biratnagar after treatment was not possible at Udayapur District Hospital.
The child died in the ambulance at Haripur in Sunsari district.
Dr Chuman Lal Das of Udayapur District Hospital said the condition of the infant was critical. “So we suggested that he should be taken to Biratnagar. Oxygen was being given to the child,” said Dr Das. Dhan Bahadur’s neighbour Rajan Khadka said the ambulance was stopped at various places along the Mahendra Highway in Saptari and Simara.
Ambulance driver Mehabub Raj said the ambulance was stopped by protesters at three different places along the highway. “It took more time due to obstructions on the road,” he said, adding that the child might have survived if ‘we had managed to take him to the hospital on time’.
“We pleaded with the protesters not to stop us and tried to explain the situation, but they refused to listen,” said an aggrieved Dhan Bahadur. Lal Bahadur was the child in the family.
Ambulance drivers halt services
Ambulance drivers in the East have halted their services from Monday citing insecurity.
The protest has made it difficult to take patients to hospital. Patients referred to other health facilities were hit the hardest due to the halt in services. Patients from remote areas are facing problems reaching hospitals.
Chandra Parajuli, Morang secretary of the Ambulance Drivers’ Association, said they had to stop work due to insecurity as ambulances and their drivers were targeted by protesters at various places. He added that they would resume services if the local administration guaranteed their safety and the agitating Madhes-based parties assured them of not vandalising ambulances.
There are about 300 ambulances operating in Morang, Sunsari and Jhapa districts. Incidents of vandalism on the emergency vehicles and attacks on their drivers have been frequent as the Tarai agitation crosses 100 days. Parajuli said 10 ambulances were vandalised in the period. Three ambulance drivers were injured in the attacks.
Drivers said that cadres of the agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha did not spare even those ambulances carrying critical patients. The SLMM leadership, however, denies the charges, alleging infiltrations in the incidents to defame protesters.