Ambulance Driver Ferrying COVID Patients Since March Dies of Virus
Aarif Khan had been admitted to hospital just a day before, after facing trouble with breathing.
A 48-year old ambulance driver in Delhi, who had ferried almost 200 bodies of COVID-19 patients since March, passed away from the disease at Delhi’s Hindu Rao hospital on Saturday, 10 October, a week after having tested positive for the virus, reported The Indian Express.
He had been admitted to the hospital just a day before, after facing trouble with breathing, following a sudden deterioration in his condition.
Khan, who would be on call 24 hours a day, had been ferrying patients of COVID-19 as well as bodies to their last rites since March. He had been sleeping in an ambulance parking lot, 28 km from his home, in North Delhi’s Seelampur, visiting his family briefly, in order to pick up clothes and the like.
“We were always worried about him. But he never bothered about COVID, he just wanted to do his job well,” Aadil, the younger of Khan’s sons told The Indian Express.
Khan worked for the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, a non-government organisation, and provided ambulance services to patients of COVID in Delhi-NCR, NDTV reported. The NGO provides funeral services for those who succumb to the virus.
Despite earning only Rs 16,000 a month, his colleagues said that Khan would often help with money for the last rites if a family was in need, or help with the rituals if a deceased’s family could not.
Jitender Singh Shunty, the founder of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, told The Indian Express: “On 30 September, a hospital refused to release a person’s body because his family couldn’t foot the bill… Khan chipped in. He was a man who genuinely cared for others.”
His colleague, Anand Kumar, remembers him as a friendly, helpful person who treated him like a brother and guided him.
He was the sole earning member of the family, which is devastated by his death, with his sons saying that work has petered out for them recently.
Khan’s elder son, Asif, said, “I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him… How will we survive without him?”
(With inputs from The Indian Express and NDTV.)
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