National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Telangana government over reported power failure that resulted in the deaths of 21 patients at a hospital in Hyderabad.
The commission has taken suo-motu cognizance of a media report that 21 patients died in a single day at the government-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, Telangana on July 22 over alleged power failure, an NHRC statement said.
“The contents of the news report are painful and raise serious issues of violation of Right to Life of the patients,” the commission said while issuing a notice to the principal secretary, Department of Medical Health and the Family Welfare, Government of Telengana, calling for a report in the matter within six weeks.
NHRC has also asked for steps to be taken regarding relief granted to the affected families.
It noted that in all such sensitive places and particularly hospitals, there should be a regular or periodical drill to ensure that people managed to work on alternative methods or systems in case of power failures, the statement said.
Before setting out to switch off even generators to rectify a technical snag, doctors, paramedical staff and attendants should have been alerted about the blackout, it said.
According to a media report dated July 24, the electricity supply in the hospital first tripped around 3pm on July 22 and thereafter, it continued to do so at regular intervals.
Although, there were four generators as standby in the hospital, they developed snags and could not be used when power lines were later cut off to find the cause of the tripping. The deaths occurred in specialty wards, including the surgical intensive unit, respiratory intensive care unit, acute medical unit, neo-natal intensive care ward and the emergency ward, the report said.
Divisional engineer, Southern Power Distribution Company Limited, Secunderabad, reportedly confirmed the power failure in the hospital and that it had some troubles with its own generating equipment.
It is being reported that there had been similar power failures the last month, and the hospital had to rely on its four generators.
Gandhi Hospital is a premier 1,200-bed tertiary care hospital and caters to a large number of patients from ten districts of Telangana, as well as from neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.