Private ambulance services centring the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) remained suspended for the second consecutive day on Monday, mounting the sufferings of the patients and their relatives.
The situation was created as the hospital administration and the law enforcers launched a crackdown on 'unauthorised' ambulance operators on Sunday after a reckless ambulance driver killed four persons and left five others injured on Saturday.
While talking to the FE, several ambulance operators said that they were willing to continue their services considering the sufferings of the patients, but the hospital administration and the law enforcers were not allowing them to park their vehicles in front of the hospital.
They said more than 100 operators provide ambulance and relevant transport services centring the medical centre.
The operators there are organised through an informal association. Its Secretary Md Dinar said the operators were barred from parking their vehicles near the hospital.
"We haven't declared strikes, but we cannot provide service as there is no legal parking spot near the hospital," he added.
Many of the ambulance drivers were also afraid of the actions taken by the law enforcing agencies as police were seizing the ambulance with wreckers, he noted.
DMCH Deputy Director Khaja Abdul Gafur told the reporters that the hospital administration is not aware of any 'strike' called by the ambulance operators.
He also said the private ambulance business centring the hospital is not part of the DMCH, but if anybody is seen standing in way of the patients' transportation to and from the hospital, they will face tough measure.
Hospital sources said the DMCH provides the patients with transport services involving seven ambulances, which is very negligible considering the regular necessity.
The hospital actually needs 40 to 50 ambulances to provide the service smoothly, they said.
Meanwhile, the patients were seen tottering and suffering as their close ones were faced with trouble in managing vehicles for them.
A seriously ill Ator Ali, aged 65 who suffered from stroke, was found being transported from the DMCH emergency to one of Dhaka's private medical college hospitals for CT scan boarding a private car instead of any ambulance.
His relative Sumon Mia said he failed to manage any ambulance even after putting in all possible efforts.
"Somehow I managed a private car at an exorbitant cost of Tk 1100," he said.
The patient, who was shifted to the DMCH from Brahmanbaria, was seen struggling to get seated in the vehicle while leaving the hospital.
Another patient's attendant Ashraful Islam said he tried in vain for an ambulance for over two hours to take his patient to Gazipur.
A recklessly-driven ambulance hit pedestrians at the DMCH emergency unit entrance on Saturday killing four persons, including two women and a child, while injuring five others.
Two separate committees were formed to investigate into the incident.