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5 die in Hisar hospital due to lack of oxygen, third incident in Haryana in less than 24 hrs

Soni Burn Hospital authorities say they alerted district health officials about falling supply, but received no response. CM Manohar Lal Khattar has ordered a magisterial probe.

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Chandigarh: As many as 13 patients have died in three Haryana hospitals in less than 24 hours due to lack of oxygen supply, with the latest incident taking place Monday morning at a private facility in Hisar.

The authorities of Soni Burn Hospital, which gets its oxygen cylinders from a plant in Hisar, said they alerted the district health officials about the supply falling short, but got no response.

Dr Rajat Soni, in-charge of the hospital, told ThePrint he ran to a neighbouring hospital to collect oxygen cylinders and was able to save some lives. But the very sick patients, five of them, died.

“There was some problem in the supply of oxygen from the Hisar plant yesterday (Sunday). The entire day the hospital as well as many other hospitals in Hisar were in touch with the district health officials alerting them about oxygen supply falling short and the non-availability of cylinders at the plant. But there was no response from anyone,” Dr Soni told ThePrint.

“Our vehicles were stationed outside the plant the whole day and so were the vehicles of many other private hospitals in Hisar. Finally at around 4 am (Monday), when the oxygen supply in my hospital was about to end, I ran to a neighbouring hospital and got two cylinders of oxygen due to which I could save some lives. The very sick patients, five of them, collapsed,” he added.

Soni said the hospital has 24 beds, of which 15 were assigned to Covid patients and all of them are running full now. 

ThePrint reached District Civil Surgeon Dr Ratna Bharti through phone calls for a comment on the matter, but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.

Following the incident, the relatives of the patients protested outside the hospital. The district administration had to call in police to control the crowd. 

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident to find out the real cause of death of the five patients, according to a statement issued by the CMO. The CM was on a visit to Hisar Monday to oversee the setting up of a 500-bed Covid hospital.

Two similar incidents took place Sunday at two private facilities in Gurugram and Rewari after the hospitals ran out of their oxygen supply.

Four patients, who were on ventilator support, died at Virat Hospital in Rewari, while as many patients died at Gurugram’s Kathuria hospital.

Both the hospitals have alleged mismanagement by the state health department in ensuring a steady and uninterrupted supply of oxygen to them.

State Health and Home Minister Anil Vij Monday ordered a probe into the two incidents, saying that strict action will be taken against those responsible for the disruption of oxygen supply.

He also tweeted that installation of oxygen plants by all hospitals in Haryana has been made mandatory.



Also read: Haryana chief secy wants lockdown in Gurugram & Faridabad, Dushyant agrees but Khattar says no

‘Frantic calls to the civil surgeon’, no response

Officials of Virat Hospital told ThePrint private hospitals aren’t receiving uninterrupted flow of medical resources the way government facilities are getting them.

“Resources like oxygen and Remdesivir are being kept aside in large numbers for use in government hospitals, while their supply is being over regulated through the civil surgeon office for private hospitals. And this despite the fact that patients are coming to private hospitals for treatment,” said Dharminder, administrative officer of the hospital.

The hospital is a 100-bed facility, catering to only Covid patients.

“Apart from the 27-bed ICU, which is completely full, in which patients are either on ventilator or BiPap support, we have another two dozen patients on high-flow oxygen support. We need at least 250 cylinders of oxygen everyday, but the allocation done to us by the civil surgeon office is only 100,” he told ThePrint.

“Our truck was standing outside the (oxygen) supplier’s gate for hours and we were sitting in the office of the government nodal officer for oxygen in Hisar, begging him to release additional cylinders to us. But he refused saying that he could not take a decision till the civil surgeon was contacted who he said was in a meeting,” he added.

Dharminder said they made “frantic calls to the civil surgeon”, but there was no response. 

Finally, when the oxygen supply ran out of the hospital, “four patients on ventilator passed away immediately and those on BiPap became serious and now some of them are on a ventilator”, he added.

Also read: Farmers at Delhi-Haryana border won’t get Covid tested, say vaccine shouldn’t be a compulsion

My son collecting cylinders from suppliers: Doctor

Kathuria Hospital also alleged there was no response from the district health department when they raised SOS alert about shortage of oxygen.

“We were falling short of oxygen supply for the whole week because our regular supplier had informed us that he did not have any oxygen to provide us any more,” Dr Ashok Kathuria, owner of the hospital, told ThePrint. 

“We kept informing the SDM about the shortage. There is a WhatsApp group of Covid-19 crisis, which includes private hospitals and government officials. We even put up a request several times on that group, but nobody bothered. This despite the fact that we were promised that we will be given 25 cylinders in the morning and 25 in the evening,” he said. But these orders “remained only on paper”. 

“The entire system has failed because most of the decisions being taken regarding supply of oxygen are only mouthed and not carried out,” Dr Kathuria added.

The hospital is a 50-bed facility, of which 30 beds were assigned to Covid patients. 

Dr Kathuria added that despite Sunday’s incident, his hospital is still facing a shortage of oxygen and his son, also a doctor, had been going from one supplier to the other across the city to collect oxygen cylinders. 

“From one place, he gets two cylinders, from another, three. There are long queues everywhere because the suppliers are getting demand from home-isolated patients and in some cases the public is generally hoarding oxygen cylinders for an emergency,” said Dr Kathuria.

Deputy Commissioner Gurugram Yash Garg told ThePrint all the facts about the incident are being gathered as part of the ongoing probe.

(Edited by Debalina Dey)

Also read: ‘Sorry, didn’t know they were Covid vaccines’ — Haryana thief returns stolen vials with note


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