A woman's cries for help to hoist her sick husband into an ambulance went unheard in West Bengal's Bongaon on Saturday evening until it was too late.
68-year-old Madhav Narayan Dutta couldn't breathe and was taken to the Bongaon Subdivisional Hospital around 5 pm on Saturday where he was admitted to the ward for suspected COVID-19 patients.
His condition deteriorated at around 8pm when doctors referred him to a hospital in Kolkata, 80 km away. An ambulance was arranged as well but the elderly shopkeeper could not climb it.
His wife tried to help him up by dragging him but couldn't. She then begged and pleaded for help from bystanders but no one came forward.
Several bystanders watched the couple struggle to get in the ambulance. A man in a PPE suit was present as well - perhaps the ambulance driver.
"Dada, you are wearing a PPE, please help," Mr Dutta's wife cried to deaf ears.
Bystanders stood there giving commentary as the helpless woman tried various ways to help her husband get on the ambulance. But not a single person came forward to help.
"There is no one to help him, who will help?" one man said.
"Uncle, you have to use mental strength and get into the ambulance. You will survive if you can get up," said another.
After about a 30-minute struggle, Madhav Narayan Dutta was dead.
The inhuman incident paints a cruel picture of how the pandemic has instilled a deep-seated fear of getting infected by coronavirus in the minds of people that they won't even come forward to help a dying man.