Ferried over seven hours from hospital to hospital, which denied him treatment for various reasons, 35-year-old Murugan died in the ambulance on Monday morning. One of these was a private hospital, which said Murugan - an accident victim who needed treatment urgently - lacked a bystander.
Murugan met with a road accident on Saturday night, while riding pillion on a motorcycle. Seeing his condition, the onlookers called for an ambulance on Sunday. In a desperate attempt to save his life, a private firm's ambulance traveled around 120 km from Kollam to Thiruvananthapuram and back, but couldn't find one hospital that was willing to offer him treatment.
The first stop was a private hospital in Kollam which put him on ventilator. But then they asked that the patient be transferred elsewhere as they did not have a neurosurgeon to conduct the necessary operation.
The next hospital, Medicity, in Kollam, refused to admit him because he allegedly did not have a bystander - a person known to the patient to stand by him.
"The doctor at Medicity came to check the patient in the ambulance and asked for the bystander. It was after they got to know that there was no bystander, that they said there was no ventilator free," said Rahul R, the owner of Life Save Ambulance Service, which had taken the responsibility to get treatment to Murugan. Mr Rahul said they decided to bear the cost of the treatment.
They took the patient to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, but no ventilator was available even there, according to Mr Rahul.
"From there we went to another private hospital and drove him back to Kollam. He died around 6:30 in the morning, after almost seven hours in the ambulance," Rahul R said.
"We have filed a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the hospitals," Kollam District Police Chief Ajeetha Begum told NDTV.
A detailed investigation is underway. "No one can be denied immediate medical help during emergencies," she added.