Teenage COVID-19 Patient Raped on Way to Hospital by Bogus Paramedic

A teenage girl suffering from COVID-19 was raped on the way to hospital by a bogus ambulance driver, say police in India.

The teenager, who has not been named, was allegedly attacked by the man in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, India, on Saturday night.

Police in the town say a man was arrested and found to be driving the ambulance without the correct credentials.

The teenager's horrifying ordeal began after she was picked up in the ambulance together with a 42-year-old woman at the Adoor government general hospital after they both tested positive for COVID-19.

The older woman was dropped off at a special COVID centre in Aranmula before the victim was taken to a deserted area where the man removed his PPE and raped her.

After the attack, the driver then continued on to the hospital warning his victim to keep quiet.

The traumatized girl alerted hospital staff and the suspect was arrested on Sunday morning.

KK Shailaja, Kerala's minister of health and social welfare, decried the attack saying it was "shocking" and "inhuman."

She said: "It is a shocking incident. The GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute, which operates the ambulance service, was asked to take action.''

A health department official said if there was more than one patient, they were usually picked up at the same time.

Speaking to The Indian Express, a spokesman for the health department said: "The driver's chamber is partitioned and no other staff or nurse accompanies the driver while ferrying patients to hospital.

"This is to limit the exposure of health workers to infected persons. In rare cases, if the patient is serious, we send a nurse. In this case, both patients were stable."

A police spokesman told local media that after dropping the girl off, the driver apologized to her. Officers said the woman recorded the conversation and informed the hospital staff, leading to the driver's arrest.

The attack on the teenager comes amid growing concerns about the wave of violent sexual offences being carried out in India.

A 3-year-old girl was raped and strangled last week in the latest brutal attack in the Lakhimpur Kher of Uttar Pradesh.

In August a deaf and mute 14-year-old schoolgirl in Khirundha was raped and murdered. Police discovered that the teenager's face had been crushed with bricks and stones.

Stock image of an ambulance. A teenage girl suffering from COVID-19 was raped on the way to hospital by a bogus ambulance driver, say police in India. iStock