11 die at Andhra Pradesh hospital as oxygen supply dips
At least 11 coronavirus patients died at a government hospital in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh last evening after the supply of medical oxygen was disrupted there, PTI reported. The harrowing incident is the latest among many of such nature that have been reported from across India as the country battles a brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are more details on this.
The incident took place at the state-run SVR Ruia Hospital, shocking videos of which have since surfaced in the media. The families of the patients alleged the oxygen supply was affected for as long as 25-45 minutes. Chittoor District Collector M Hari Narayanan, on the other hand, claimed, "There was a five-minute lag in reloading the oxygen cylinder that caused the pressure to drop."
Narayanan said, "Everything is now normal. We have connected bulk cylinders and there is no reason to worry. A major disaster was averted because of quick action by medical staff." He further claimed that delay in the arrival of oxygen tanker from Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu had led to the crisis. Reportedly, some 30 doctors were rushed to the ICU to attend to the patients.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy condoled the deaths and has ordered an inquiry into the incident. He reportedly directed the officials to ensure that such a situation does not arise again in the state. The focus should also be on the maintenance and not just on the transportation and supply of oxygen, the CM told the officials.
Several heartbreaking stories of patients losing their lives due to a lack of oxygen supply have surfaced from across India over the past few weeks. On Sunday, a prolonged disruption in the oxygen supply allegedly caused the death of at least seven patients at a government hospital in Hyderabad. Earlier, dozens have died due to oxygen shortage in national capital Delhi too.
Last week, the Supreme Court of India had set up a 12-member national task force to assess the availability and distribution of medical oxygen across the country. The task force will provide "inputs and strategies for meeting the challenges of the pandemic on a transparent and professional basis, in the present and in future," the SC said.
India is currently facing the world's worst coronavirus outbreak, reporting lakhs of new cases every day for the past few weeks. In the past 24 hours, the country logged 3.29 lakh new infections and 3,876 deaths. India's active cases currently stand past 37 lakh. The government's handling of the pandemic has been marred by acute shortages of necessary medical equipment including oxygen and drugs.