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Trauma centre deaths: staff ignored ICU alerts

delhi Updated: Dec 06, 2012 01:23 IST
Karn Pratap Singh
Karn Pratap Singh
Hindustan Times
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Another patient admitted to the ICU of a Delhi government-run trauma centre, where oxygen-supply failed a day earlier, died on Wednesday, taking the toll to five even as the person in charge of the facility and his supervisor were arrested on charges of negligence.

It has emerged that the only technician, a Class 8 dropout, on duty at the gas plant on Tuesday was not only unqualified for the job but also ignored alerts informing him about the sharp drop in the pressure of oxygen, which affected the supply to the ventilators, the police said Wednesday.

Four of the five patients on ventilator support in the ICU of Sushruta Trauma Centre, the biggest such facility in north Delhi, died within 20 minutes of the supply failure early Tuesday. Delhi resident Vikram Singh died on Wednesday though the hospital blamed a heart attack.

Preliminary investigations largely blame negligence on part of technician Amit Singh Katoch and his inability to read the emergency situation for the deaths.

A number of services at government-run hospitals in the Capital are outsourced but as Tuesday’s incident shows that lack of monitoring and checks can put patients at risk.

When the supply failed, only one oxygen cylinder was in use though 21 more were lying locked in the oxygen bank, said the police.

The 25-year-old technician was not trained to tackle emergency situations and was the only person on duty - a violation of the agreement between the hospital and supplier PES Installation Private Ltd, said the police. The agreement requires of the supplier to have two persons at the unit at all times. The second person, said the police, was taken off a few days ago.

An enquiry report by hospital's additional medical superintendent Dr Vikas Rampal also said alleged negligence on behalf of the PES staff. An FIR for causing death due to negligence has been registered against the supplier.

Confirming the arrests of Katoch and his supervisor Man Singh, DCP (north) Sindhu Pillai said investigations were on and more arrests would were likely. The role of the hospital staff would be looked into, she said.