A man suffering from liver disease was forced to wait two days for clearance to fly to India after authorities enforced a rule banning ambulances from private hospitals inside the Muscat International Airport, it was reported.
The patient, Mohammed Rafeek, was being treated for liver cirrhosis in Muscat. However, after consultations with doctors, it was decided to shift him to Kochin in India for further treatment, the Muscat Daily reported the patient’s work colleague as saying.
A ticket was booked on an Oman Air flight for Thursday, along with a stretcher. A doctor and a nurse were to accompany him on the flight, the newspaper said.
“When we reached the airport, authorities refused to let the private ambulance in, citing the rule,” the colleague was quoted as saying.
“The national carrier, too, insisted on an ambulance from a government hospital,” the colleague said, adding that government hospitals approached could not help as Rafeek was not their patient.
“After much pleading, Rafeek was finally allowed to fly on Saturday. The situation further affected his health.”
A senior operations official at the airport confirmed private ambulances were not allowed inside the airport facility, but could be accommodated in certain circumstances. He did not comment directly on Rafeek’s case.
“Ambulances seeking entry inside the airport are categorised into three areas,” he said.
“Currently, the rules prevent entry of private ambulances inside the airport. As far as government-owned ambulances are concerned, the ambulance driver is replaced by the driver of the clinic at the airport while entering the airport.
“If the ambulance has a patient with a emergency medical certificate, the vehicle is permitted inside the airport on the condition that the medical staff from the clinic is accommodated inside the ambulance.”