This heartwarming news comes to us from Hyderabad, India.
When a COVID-19 patient succumbed to the virus in a Peddapalli hospital, a Good Samaritan doctor drove the body in a tractor to the crematorium after the driver refused to do his job stating fear of contamination.
The 45-year-old man died in the local government hospital in Pedapalli this last Sunday, after which the municipality, which had no ambulances, provided a tractor to ferry the man’s mortal remains to the crematorium. However, the driver of the tractor, on learning that the man was a COVID-19 casualty, absolutely refused to drive saying that he would get contaminated. Even after he was told that all COVID-19 protocols had been followed to cover the dead body and that all the concerned people were in PPE’s, he stuck to his guns, saying that he would not drive the tractor.
At this point Dr. Pendyala Sriram, who is the district surveillance officer for COVID-19 pandemic, tried his best to convince the driver to do his job, but the driver refused flat out. Faced with a dilemma, Dr. Sriram then decided to literally get in the driver’s seat and he drove the tractor to the cremation ground which was 2 km away.
Dr Sriram said that it had already been 6 hours since the patient had died and the family of the patient was getting very restless. Even the staff of the hospital was uncomfortable with the body lying in the premises. Dr. Sriram, being the person responsible for the last rites of the patients being performed with dignity according to COVID_19 norms, then decided to drive the tractor himself.
The patient in question had tested positive for the Coronavirus and had spent some time in home isolation, but as his condition weakened because of comorbidities, he had to be rushed to the Pedapalli government hospital but that could not prevent his death.
Dr. Sriram says that the collector of the district had ensured supply of adequate numbers of PPE kits as well as body bags. Because the protection gear was available, all concerned with the cremation wore them. Also driving the tractor was not an easy job for Dr. Sriram but he says that he persevered, being a farmer in his leisure time.
Dr. Sriram adds that he followed the motto of his father, which was that work needs to get done, without it mattering who did it. He gives all the credit for his act to his father. Many people came out in support of Dr. Sriram who went viral on social media. The Finance Minister T Harish Rao tweeted in praise of the intrepid doctor.