Tariq Ahmad Patloo: Floating Ambulance Service

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Tariq Ahmad Patloo: Floating Ambulance Service

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Srinagar: According to a report in India Today, last year in August, when Tariq Ahmad Patloo, a houseboat owner in Srinagar, was infected with Covid and needed a ride to Srinagar’s SMHS Hospital, he was unable to find a shikara to take him across the lake. Even after his recovery, the memory of that apathy haunted him more than the virus. Upon regaining his strength, Patloo began looking into the idea of starting a water ambulance service to help Covid patients who are unable to find support. He converted a traditional shikara into a make-shift ambulance with financial assistance from the Satya Rekha Trust. He fitted it with an outboard motor so that it could reach destinations quickly. The ambulance, launched in December 2020, has already helped many people reach the hospital. It is equipped with a stretcher, a wheelchair, masks, PPE kits, a glucometer, BP apparatus, oximeter, and a first-aid box. He has sought help from the government to have a dedicated medical practitioner and paramedic assigned to his service so that emergency treatment can be given on the boat itself. The boatman has circulated his number via WhatsApp groups and on posters carrying messages about saving the lake from pollution. He gets frequent calls from families living in the lake area to ferry their ailing family members (Covid positive or otherwise) to hospital. “Recently, I even ferried bodies in the ambulance,” Patloo says. “I give patients and their attendants PPE kits from the ambulance to prevent the spread of Covid. Every morning, I set out on my boat and raise awareness, reading out Covid SOPs on the loudspeaker fitted on the ambulance. The fuel on these trips cost me Rs 300-500 daily, and I pay for it from my own savings. I also distribute masks for free to boatmen who are without masks.”

(Extracted from indiatoday.in)