- Newborn girl was being moved from one hospital to a larger one
- Oxygen cylinder was being used to help her breathe
- Driver noticed oxygen supply low, turned around, baby died
The baby, in respiratory distress after being born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck at West Godavari's Eluru District hospital, was to be transported to a state-run hospital in Vijayawada, about 55 kms away.
After covering about 10 kms, the driver of the ambulance noticed that the oxygen cylinder being used to help the baby breathe was nearly empty. He drove the van back to the Eluru hospital to seek assistance, but the baby died en route. The baby's grandmother was with her, as no other medical care staff was deputed to accompany the critically ill newborn on this journey.
District hospital superintendent Dr AVR Mohan confirmed to NDTV that the ambulance had run out of oxygen when the baby was being taken to Vijayawada and that basic rules had been ignored.
The baby had been despatched in the ambulance without emergency experts accompanying her. "That is because we have a 30-40 per cent shortage in staff. So no paramedical staff, no male or female nursing orderly accompanies any patient being taken to a referral hospital in the two ambulances attached to the hospital,'' the superintendent said.
The 350-bed hospital that was upgraded into a 450-bed hospital had ironically won Andhra Pradesh's Best Medical Hospital award earlier this year.
"We now want to train drivers, nurses and other emergency casualty staff to check and weigh oxygen content in cylinders before the ambulance leaves the hospital. They should know to change oxygen cylinder in emergency, dress bleeding wounds or change IV fluid in life-threatening situations, so they can save lives,'' Dr Mohan said.