Ambulance drivers of Tamil Nadu are a determined lot catering to transporting Covid patients from homes to hospitals, from private hospitals to government hospitals and also listening to the woes of the families of the people affected. In effect these good Samaritans are doing a yeoman service to the society risking their health and lives. Several voluntary organisations are also active in the ground supporting the families of the Covid patients with the necessary counselling.
Rajkumar Manikandan, an ambulance driver attached to a voluntary organization at Teynampet in Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “We are fully engaged now , these are times when we will have to work for maybe 24 hours a day as cases are increasing and the patients have to be transported to the medical facilities with immediate effect. However I am happy that I can contribute something to the society. The cries of the family members when someone is affected with the disease is unbearable eventhough I have transported several dead bodies across the country and witnessed the scenes at their homes while delivering the bodies of their dear and nears.”
The ambulance drivers are to wear PPE kits and there are several instances wherein the ambulance driver also doubles up as the councilors to patients who are mentally at a very low ebb.
Suresh, an ambulance driver at Ashok Nagar who is attached with a private hospital at Virugambakam while speaking to BPNS said, “People sometimes behave very rudely to us but we can understand their mindset. So we try to maintain our calm and this is indeed a taxing work. On the one side we are also afraid when the disease is catching up to us even though I was tested positive once and had undergone the required quarantine during the first wave. Anyway this is my profession and I am doing it with full satisfaction.”
The voluntary organisations are also actively involved in providing ambulance services in transporting Covid patients. Velayudhan Sreenivasan, driver of an ambulance services run by a voluntary organization while speaking to BPNS said, “ The voluntary organization where I work does not even insist on the money but most of the relatives of Covid patients were benevolent and paid us well. There were however some instances wherein people did not have the money to pay the ambulance bill and our organization did not insist that we get the full money ,whatever little the patient’s family had we accepted.”