Four critically ill Covid-19 patients die as hospital runs out of oxygen
Four critically ill Covid-19 patients who were on ventilator support at Kathuria Hospital died on Sunday afternoon due to a shortage of oxygen, according to the hospital management. Staff at the hospital alleged that they had raised the alarm with the authorities concerned around 11am, but did not get the supply despite assurances.
The four patients, aged between 45 and 67, died around 3pm after the oxygen cylinders ran empty. The incident also caused a furore among relatives of other patients, who rushed to industrial units to fetch oxygen from private suppliers, the hospital authorities said.
Kathuria Hospital on Khandsa Road has a capacity of 30 beds, all of which are occupied by Covid-19 patients.
Dr AK Kathuria, the owner of Kathuria Hospital, said that they had informed the health department and the subdivisional magistrate (SDM) concerned regarding the critical situation around 11am. “I called the health department and they asked me to contact the nodal officer and SDM concerned responsible for oxygen supply. We were assured by authorities that the oxygen supply would reach the hospital within time, but nothing happened. Around 3pm, the oxygen cylinders went empty and four critical patients lost their lives,” he said.
However, officials of the district administration said that they were not informed about the shortage and there was no demand raised for supply.
Yash Garg, deputy commissioner, Gurugram, said, “I was neither informed about the matter nor was any request made regarding the shortage. Duty magistrates were deployed and I am making further enquiries.”
He said that there was ample oxygen available in the city and the same could have been supplied without any problem. Later in the evening, Garg ordered a magisterial inquiry into the matter by subdivisional magistrate Jitender Kumar.
Virender Yadav, chief medical officer, Gurugram said that the supply of oxygen is not the prerogative of the health department but they will probe the reasons for the death of four patients. “We will probe if the deaths were caused by lack of oxygen or any other reason. I had told the hospital management to contact the official concerned responsible for oxygen supply,” he said.
Amit Shandilya, executive engineer and nodal officer for the hospital said that he was not informed about the matter by the hospital authorities. “I am on record that no message or call was made to me in this matter. If they had informed, we would have managed supply,” he said.
Pradeep Kumar, subdivisional magistrate, Pataudi, said that the charge of oxygen supply management was given to another official on Saturday. “I received a call from the hospital authorities but since I was busy, I messaged them that they should raise the matter with the new in-charge of supply in the district,” he said.
Kathuria alleged that the system of oxygen supply in the district was faulty. “We informed them within time and despite that, this tragedy happened. Relatives of other patients were forced to rush to get cylinder filled themselves,” he added.
A relative of a patient who is admitted to the hospital said that relatives of all patients rushed to industrial areas in Manesar and Gurugram to get cylinders filled. “We ran on car and bikes as cylinders finished and lives of many were in danger,” the relative said, requesting anonymity.
Kathuria said that they managed to arrange oxygen cylinders from private sources around 4pm.