The Delhi government on Thursday sacked two doctors, suspended one and transferred another who were found responsible for the death of four ICU patients at the Sushruta Trauma Centre on Tuesday morning.
On Monday, four head injury victims and a poisoning patient were recovering post-operation in the ICU of the Delhi government’s Sushruta Trauma Centre. Four of these patients died of asphyxia when the oxygen supply to the ICU was interrupted at 6.40am on Tuesday, rendering the ventilators useless.
The doctors on duty tried hard to revive them, but could only save one who died a day later, on Wednesday.
Delhi health minister AK Walia announced the action against the doctors after receiving a probe report by a four-member committee constituted under special secretary (health) SB Shashank. The preliminary report was submitted to the minister at 7pm on Thursday.
“We have terminated the contracts of two ICU in-charges (anaesthetists), suspended the medical officer in charge of repair and maintenance and transferred the additional medical superintendent of the hospital apart from cancelling the contract and lodging an FIR against the company responsible for the functioning of the gas pipeline,” said Walia.
The doctors who face action are Dr Teena Khurana and Dr Richa Gupta (junior anaesthesia specialists, ICU in-charges), Dr Rampal (additional medical superintendent) and Dr Anshuman (medical officer in-charge of repair and maintenance).
“The company had promised us nine trained technicians but provided only six ill-trained men. The facility had been running only one cylinder at a time when it needed to run at least 11 out of total 21,” he said.
For the doctors, Walia, added, “If they had been alert, the disaster could have been averted. They failed in their duty.”
He said another agency would be roped in to operate the gas pipeline in the hospital and it will be probed at how many other places the company, PES Installations Pvt Ltd., provides services.
The company officials claimed they had not been paid their dues. “The contract to provide manpower had terminated in October last year and the annual maintenance contract expired in November this year,” said a company executive.
Health ministry officials, however, said the government had released Rs. 2.5 lakh to the company on November 17 for repair and maintenance and that the renewal was in process. “There is no excuse for dropping quality and playing with the lives of people,” said Walia.