Alleged journalist Barkha Dutt, who recently lost her father SP Dutt to Covid-19, had claimed that an apathetic state of medical affairs engulfing the nation had led to her not being able to save her father, despite being an “upper middle-class Indian”. Barkha Dutt made no secret of the fact, despite being grief-stricken, that her father’s death was solely due to the fact that he did not receive immediate medical aid in the ambulance which ferried him to a hospital. This narrative was pushed by the ‘journalist’ in international media circles, beginning with CNN.
However, the ambulance driver who ferried the father of Barkha Dutt to the hospital has said that the oxygen tank and delivery system were working perfectly fine and that he himself adjusted the oxygen pressure to 7 for Barkha’s father despite the journalist telling him to keep it at 4. In an audiotape accessed by ThePulse, an ambulance driver identified as Sonu said that the oxygen cylinder was full and Barkha Dutt herself checked the supply. She even checked both the mask and the flow of oxygen before the ambulance began its journey to the hospital.
While our sympathies are with @BDUTT but we felt it necessary to get you the version of the ambulance driver who claims that the oxygen in the ambulance was working perfectly fine and that he helped the patient to the best of his capability.
— The-Pulse (@ThePulseIndia) April 30, 2021
“I had personally carried the patient from the first floor of his house to the ambulance. Why is she lying? I had shown her that the mask and oxygen cylinder were working properly. There were several witnesses including Barkha Dutt’s two drivers and a security guard. I am not lying,” he said. Sonu added, “She interrupted me during the journey and repeatedly asked me to check the oxygen supply. I assured her that it was working fine. We had reached the hospital without any issues. We were accompanied by two of her vehicles. The patient’s caretaker was also with him. I had even stood outside the emergency department for 15-20 minutes. The patient also got down from the ambulance without any difficulty.” Sonu, in his defence, went on to remark that Barkha Dutt was lying and that if she was telling the truth, she would have taken a photograph of the alleged apathy.
It must be mentioned that Barkha Dutt has used the death of her father to mount an attack against the Indian state. Speaking to CNN’s Kim Brunhuber, Dutt had said, “I speak because I realise that despite my devastation, I was luckier than most Indians. Today, I think about the orphans of the Indian state.” This was after she had gone on to remark on the international channel how her father had succumbed to Covid-19 due to lack of proper treatment. “It got delayed because there is no green corridor for the ambulances in the city in the Capital even now. By the time we reached the hospital because the oxygen (cylinder) had failed/faltered, his levels had fallen precipitously. He had to be taken into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He never made it back,” Dutt told CNN.
Interestingly, Sonu has categorically denied the claim that SP Dutt’s oxygen levels fell ‘precipitously’ since, according to him, the patient had himself gotten down from the ambulance without any difficulty. The onus is now on Barkha Dutt to substantiate her claims or to refute the version put forward by the ambulance driver.