PETER DE SOUZA
SIOLIM: Believe it or not, it took more than an hour-and-a-half for a 108 ambulance to reach Sodiem, in Siolim, to save the life of a foreign tourist who had collapsed and rolled in pain by the roadside.
Locals say that the unknown foreigner was seen loitering in the area carrying two water bottles. He was spotted on the road near the panchayat at around 3 pm, behaving a bit abnormally.
Later, at around 4 pm, he had reached Morod near the Holy Cross Chapel and was soon found on the roadside struggling for life. “He was frothing at the mouth, so we immediately called 108 ambulance and the police. The police robot reached Sodiem, but could not move the foreigner to the hospital as the ambulance did not arrive,” a villager told O Heraldo.
The ambulance arrived only at 6 pm, but by then it was too late. Goa’s ‘guest’ had by then breathed his last. Citizens are of the opinion that had the ambulance arrived quickly, the foreigner could have been resuscitated and would have been saved.
When O Heraldo contacted ‘108’ at 7.45 pm, the operator stated that they did receive a call, but could divulge any further details.
“This is criminal negligence on the part of the ambulance services. The police personnel arrived at the scene at around 4.30 pm, and told me that they had called for the ambulance before that. Since the ambulance had not arrived, I too then called them at around 4.45 pm. But they, however, turned up at only around 6 pm. We all feel that the foreigner would have been saved if he was promptly administered first-aid by the paramedics,” said Nilesh Vaigankar, Deputy Sarpanch of the Siolim-Sodiem Panchayat.