Kerela, September 18: The young COVID patient, who was sexually assaulted by an ambulance driver, tried to commit suicide at government medical college, Kottayam.

The hospital staff rescued her by breaking open the doors of the bathroom in the isolation ward where she tried to hang herself, according to regional media reports. The girl’s condition is stable. She has been kept under observation.

It was on September 5 that the young woman was sexually molested by the driver of a 108 ambulance while she was being taken to the COVID-19 first-line treatment centre at Panthalam. Noufal, the 28-year old ambulance driver, accused in a murder case, was arrested soon after the incident. He has been removed from the service.

After the assault, the girl was initially admitted to the government general hospital, Pathanamthitta. But, as she was under severe mental trauma and required counselling, she has been shifted to the Kottayam medical college.

The sexual assault of the COVID-19 patient in ambulance exposed the serious lapses from the part of health authorities in complying with the guidelines for shifting infected patients to the hospital. No healthcare workers accompanied the girl and another woman patient while being taken to the hospital.

They were sent along with the ambulance driver at night. The health department also faced strong criticism for recruiting a person with a criminal background as a 108 ambulance driver.