- A video from India of a COVID-19 victim’s body fall from an ambulance has been widely shared.
- It drove past families in Vidisha, central India, who were waiting by a struggling hospital.
- It was another stark example of India’s healthcare system falling short amid a huge virus surge.
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A video from India shows a COVID-19 patient’s body falling out of an ambulance and onto the road on Friday, a particularly stark moment as the country’s strained healthcare system struggles in a huge surge of the virus.
Friday’s incident has caused consternation both online, where it was shared widely, and from families gathered outside the medical facility in Vidisha, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, according to The Indian Express newspaper.
In the video, the ambulance can be seen leaving the gates then swerving a corner. A side panel falls open and a shrouded body falls out onto the road. Family members can then be heard yelling in protest.
NDTV Journalist Anurag Dwary tweeted the video here:
—Anurag Dwary (@Anurag_Dwary) April 23, 2021
A medical official later said that the ambulance was old and had been donated by an unspecified NGO.
The scene is a snapshot of a healthcare system under immense strain as the number of new coronavirus cases skyrockets.
Day after day last week, the country set global records for the highest number of new cases, a situation worsened by critical shortages both of oxygen and vaccines.
The most recent figures available on Johns Hopkins University’s tracker — from Sunday — showed the country’s highest ever number for new daily cases, 353,ooo.
Outside the Vidisha facility — converted from an unfinished medical college — families were upset because of how little information they were getting, India Today, a news magazine, reported.
Complaining of not being able to visit, and of getting no updates from medics, families were barring staff from leaving until they got more information, according to The Indian Express.
“My relative has died, but the hospital is not providing any details,” one family member, Prakash Lodhi, told India Today.
“We don’t even know whether he died this evening or yesterday itself. No one is telling us anything. We have been waiting for 4-5 hours outside the hospital.”
GS Varma, a Vidisha official, told India Today that the families’ “concerns are genuine.”
“But we can’t allow everyone to go in,” he said. “They are also angry that no one is answering their calls. The doctors aren’t able to answer calls because they are treating patients. It isn’t possible for them to attend all calls, but we will make arrangements to improve the situation.”
Vidisha Medical College dean Sunil Nandeshwar told the India Express that the ambulance was a donation from an NGO, and was old. In the video, the vehicle’s rear windows appear to be broken.
Families also complained that they could not retrieve bodies themselves, The Indian Express reported. Local official Pankaj Jain told the paper that bodies instead have to be cremated under COVID-19 protocol.
Although India is the world’s largest producer of vaccines, rich countries’ rush to acquire a surplus has helped create a major disparity in global distribution.
This week, the US offered further help for the country’s vaccine production, while the UK has begun sending ventilators, the BBC reported.