Karnataka: 24 patients die as hospital faces oxygen shortage
As many as 24 patients died at a government hospital in Karnataka's Chamarajanagara district allegedly due to the lack of oxygen supply, reports said on Monday. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa called for an emergency Cabinet meeting in this regard on Tuesday, even as the Mysuru district administration stated that there was no delay in supplying the required oxygen cylinders on their part.
23 of 24 deceased suffered from COVID-19
Hospital officials said that 24 deaths were reported between 12 am and 2 am on Monday after the oxygen supply suddenly dropped. Among them, 23 were patients of COVID-19. Speaking to News 18, the Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajanagara, Dr. MR Ravi, acknowledged that there was an oxygen shortage at 10:30 pm on Sunday. He said 60 oxygen cylinders from Mysuru only reached Monday morning.
Families of the deceased protested in front of the hospital
Citing doctors' reports, DCP Ravi said that only 12 patients died due to lack of oxygen and the others succumbed due to underlying co-morbid conditions. However, family members of those deceased staged a protest in front of the hospital premises and demanded strict action against officials. District in-charge Minister Suresh Kumar has ordered a probe into the incident and sought a death audit report.
Chamarajanagara officials blame Mysuru administration; latter refutes claims
District officials said oxygen supply was due from the neighboring Mysuru district which led to the disaster. The Mysuru district administration said there was no delay and 250 oxygen cylinders were sent to Chamarajanagara Sunday night. "The Mysore Southern Gas has supplied 210 cylinders and the Mysuru District hospital dispatched 40 cylinders on Sunday midnight to Chamarajanagar," it was quoted by the Deccan Herald.
Alerted district administration, nothing was done: Hospital staffer
A staff member told The Times of India that an alert over the "imminent danger" of the hospital running out of oxygen was sounded to the district administration on Sunday evening, but "nothing was done" to expedite its supply. Hospital sources informed the Herald that a 6,000-liter capacity oxygen plant on the hospital premises can meet the patients' needs for 1.5 days.
Congress calls for accountability, Health Minister's arrest
Naturally, the Congress party came down heavily on the state government, alleging lapses in the healthcare system. Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar referred to the incident as "criminal negligence" and called for accountability. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Died or killed?" All India Congress Committee General Secretary and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Surjewala demanded state Health Minister K Sudhakar's arrest.
'Deeply pained,' CM orders probe
Reacting to the news, CM Yediyurappa tweeted, "Deeply pained and shocked by the loss of lives at the Chamarajnagara district hospital." The CM said he has appointed IAS officer Shivayogi Kalasad to investigate the matter. The official has been directed to submit a report to the government within three days. He will chair an emergency Cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening.
COVID-19 cases continue to surge across Karnataka
The state's overall COVID-19 tally crossed the 16-lakh mark on Sunday with 37,733 fresh cases. The tally now stands at 16,01,865 with 4,21,436 active cases, including 2,81,767 active cases in Bengaluru Urban alone. Another 217 persons died on Sunday, taking the death toll to 16,011. Meanwhile, 21,149 people were discharged, marking the state's cumulative count of recoveries to 11,64,398.