According to sources, in the last 15 days, 110 Covid patients from Chandigarh and other states have died at Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32. (HT FILE PHOTO)
According to sources, in the last 15 days, 110 Covid patients from Chandigarh and other states have died at Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32. (HT FILE PHOTO)

High drama as 4 Covid patients succumb within 1.5 hours at Chandigarh hospital

Attendants alleged the deaths were caused by power cut amid thunderstorm; authorities said ventilators had backup
By Tanbir Dhaliwal, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAY 31, 2021 12:09 AM IST

A high drama was witnessed on Saturday night at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 after four Covid-19 patients, admitted in its two intensive care units (ICUs), died within a span of one-and-a-half hours.

Attendants of the deceased alleged that the deaths occurred because of a power cut during the thunderstorm. The authorities, however, have denied it.

At 10:30pm, there was a power cut in the hospital because of the thunderstorm that struck the city. Almost two hours later at 12.20am, one patient died in the ICU; at 1.15am another died; the third death was reported at 1.30am and the fourth at 2am.

While one patient was from Chandigarh, others were from Punjab. As the attendants, sitting in the dark, got the news of the deaths, one of them started alleging that the patients were dying because the ventilators were not functional due to the power cut.

As per sources, a lot of hue and cry was raised following which medical superintendent Dr Sudhir Garg and sub-divisional magistrate (south) Satish Jain reached the spot.

Dr Jasbinder Kaur, the director-principal of GMCH-32, said: “There is no link between the power failure and the deaths that occurred in the Covid ICUs. All ventilators have automatic backup, and electricity supply was being provided to all critical areas, including ICUs.”

She said ventilators were functional in the case of all four patients, and they died because of medical complications.

On Saturday, there were a total of 116 patients on oxygen support and 38 patients admitted in four Covid ICUs.

The medical superintendent, who visited the spot at night, said: “All ventilators connected to Covid patients were functional. Sadly, four very sick patients died in two different Covid ICUs at night.”

“Mortality rate is quite high in the ICUs across India, and similar is the case at GMCH-32. Over 50% patients are from other states, who reach the hospital at a very critical stage. During the second wave when the fatality rate is so high, it is not abnormal if 5-6 Covid-19 patients die in a day,” added Dr Garg.

He said that last week also, some attendants had created ruckus when five patients had died within a short span.

According to sources, in the last 15 days, 110 Covid patients from Chandigarh and other states have died at GMCH-32.

Garg said that the ventilators installed in the three ICUs, which were supplied through PM CARES fund, have their own battery backup of 30 minutes.

“As an additional backup measure, a high dependency unit in C block with 12 ventilator beds was vacated and prepared for receiving these patients if required,” he said.

Meanwhile, police confirmed that the families of three victims had complained to the cops stationed at GMCH-32, and these were forwarded to the Sector-34 police station. However, senior police officials privy to the matter said that no FIR had been registered and the complaints had been forwarded to the relevant authority.

UT health secretary Arun Kumar Gupta said, “It is unfortunate that four deaths occurred at GMCH-32, but these had nothing to do with disruption in power supply. Hospital’s electricity generators were automatically turned on, and ventilators, too, have their own backup.”

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