In writing this article, my respect for those who work as emergency response workers has increased manifold. Given the condition of our roads and the constant traffic snarls, it is a wonder that the ambulance manages to reach a patient on time.
37-year-old coolie Nanjappan, a resident of Gandhavayal in Coimbatore, called the emergency 108 for an ambulance to take Kavitha, his pregnant wife, to the hospital. It was on Sunday morning at around 5.15 a.m. when her water broke.
Upon receiving the call, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) K Roja and the ambulance driver M Arun Kumar set out for the village. But the duo came upon a bridge that was submerged due to rainfall. Little did they envision such hurdles in the path of their duty.
It must also be mentioned here that this is Roja’s second month as an EMT.
Taking an alternate route was an option but would have taken too much time, and given the gravity of the situation, the duo decided to find another way to reach the village.
With the help of a coracle (a small, round boat), they waded through the flooded area, and once they had crossed over, they borrowed a two-wheeler and reached their destination.
Even though they reached as fast they could, the lady had already delivered her baby. The newborn was turning pale and needed immediate medical attention. The two immediately went back to the ambulance in the same route.
In a report published in The New Indian Express, the ambulance driver said, “We cut the umbilical cord but realised the baby needed oxygen and warmth. He needed more care, so we took him to the Mettupalayam GH for treatment. Meanwhile, we engaged another vehicle to take the longer route and bring Kavitha (the mother) to the hospital.”
The two workers could have most certainly turned around when they found that the vehicle would not move forward, given the waterlogging, but they found a way and reached the village.
Speaking to the publication, Roja said that she was proud to have saved the baby. “If we had waited, we would have endangered his life as his legs and hands were turning blue.”
Instances like these show the difficulties faced by EMTs and ambulance services to reach people in rural areas. A 27-year-old male EMT helped deliver a baby in a moving ambulance near Madurai earlier this month, while her family members were reluctant about the pregnant woman being attended by the male paramedic.
Such acts must not only be written about but also rewarded so that many more are inspired to follow suit.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)