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Silchar to Guwahati during a medical emergency: “Hospitals should help in arranging pass,” Family

Private hospitals in Silchar referring critical patients to Guwahati or Shillong is a very common phenomenon. Within minutes the attendants arrange ambulances and they begin the 300+ kilometre journey to defeat death. On the way, they encounter landslide-prone roads, traffic jams and interstate travel complications. Naturally, many succumb on the way.

A recent addition to the list already filled with obstacles is the transit pass. Meghalaya government does not allow ambulances to ply through the state unless the driver has a pass issued by the local district administration.

Recently, a 12-year-old Don Bosco student from Silchar was rushed to Valley Hospital in Meherpur. The young girl, according to her father, “Fell down in her own room and got hurt in her head.” After a preliminary checkup on July 29 at around the afternoon, Valley Hospital referred her to the Dispur Hospital in Guwahati. By evening the father arranged an Ambulance and they were ready to start their journey. “That is when the ambulance driver said we need to get a pass from the district administration,” said the father.

He did not know how to get a pass and asked the hospital for help. “They simply raised their hands and said reach out to the administration. I kept panicking and at around 12:00 midnight went to the main road and started seeking for help,” added the father whose daughter has multiple clots in her brain.

Watching the father in distress, proprietor of a nearby medical shop reached out to him. After listening to his issues, the man called Joydeep Chakraborty who lives nearby and is renowned locally for his social work. At around 12:25 am, Joydeep Chakraborty met the father and immediately dialed the additional deputy commissioner of Cachar, Sumit Sattavan seeking help. By 12:39 the pass got approved.

It is a simple process, there is a dedicated microsite where the applicant needs to submit all the details which include name, age, gender, RC of the vehicle, driver details, license. The website is self-explanatory and needs no understanding of complex technologies. It took 10 minutes to feed in all the details and Sattavan immediately approved the computer issued pass that does not need any signature.

Though the ADC made himself available to approve the round-trip transit pass late at night, the father could only leave the next morning. “At 1:00 AM when I went to the Valley Hospital Authority after getting the pass in my email, they told me we will only get a discharge after doctor visits the next morning. At 10:30 AM, the doctor visited and we got the discharge. We left for Dispur Hospital immediately and at around 10:45 at night we got her admitted to the hospital in the state capital,” said the father.

He added, in his view, the private hospital could have helped him better. “This is the matter of life and death of a 12-year-old. I am grateful to the proprietor, Mr. Chakraborty, and ADC Sattawan Sir as I got the pass because of them. The administration was prompt but the question here is, not all know the ADC well, what should they do? Can’t the hospitals reach out to the administration in case of emergency and get the pass?” he asked.

Private Hospitals or for that matter any individuals can reach out to the administration in case of an emergency, said Sattavan. He added, “The pass is issued through a website which is available 24 hours and we will approve it instantaneously, however late it might be.”

Sattavan explained that only the district administration can issue the pass as otherwise, the Meghalaya State Government won’t allow the vehicle to ply through the interstate borders.

While the hospitals can reach out to the administration, how many of them actually do remains questionable. Courtesy to Sattavan’s availability post-mid-night, the locals’ awareness, the 12-year-old is still alive and fighting. “The doctors here said we have lost some precious hours and her condition is critical. I pray to the hospital authorities to support patients in an emergency by helping them arrange the passes for the ambulance. I hope my daughter will recover well,” concluded the father.

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