Lalitpur, April 16:

Twenty-eight-year-old Poonam Joshi, a resident of Indreni Chowk, Sanepa, suffered a heart attack after she could not find her 13-year-old son who had gone to a cyber café just before clashes started in Sanepa yesterday. The relatives called up various hospitals for ambulances and asked for the police help to take her to the hospital, but to no avail. They had to wait for more than an hour until her husband got his office vehicle to pick her up and admitted her to the Patan Hospital. “Anything unfortunate could have happened had I not been brought to hospital on time,” said Joshi.

Jaya Raj Dani of Lalitpur, who was beaten up by some hooligans, had to wait for two hours for the ambulance to go to the Patan Hospital.

Dani and Joshi had to suffer due to delay in getting ambulance service. But many more patients will suffer from tomorrow with fewer ambulances plying on the road, thanks to the shortage of fuel.

Laxman Dangol, driver in-charge at the Kathmandu Model Hospital (KMH), said fuel shortage will affect the ambulance service from tomorrow. “Till 10 days we had been receiving enough fuel from the petrol pumps run by the Army and Police but today we got only 14 litres of petrol from Bhadrakali petrol pump, and they told that they are running out of stock,” said Dangol.

“We have not been able provide services to others except our patients. Earlier we used to provide services to Patan Hospital and other private hospitals,” said Dangol. “Most ambulance service providers have lessened the number drastically.”

Mani Lama, Minister of State for Health and Population, told The Himalayan Times that his ministry has coordinated with the Ministry of Industries, Commerce and Supply to provide fuel to the hospitals and ambulances to address the shortage of fuel. Lama said that the government would provide fuel to the hospitals from the petrol pumps run by the Army and Police.

The demand for ambulance service has increased by four fold compared to the days prior to general strike, according to Resham Bishal Bazar Ambulance run by Lions Club.