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24 Covid-19 patients dead after Chamarajanagar hospitals run out of oxygen

District administration says 12 Covid-19 patients died due to lack of oxygen and others due to co-morbid conditions
Last Updated : 04 May 2021, 04:24 IST

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In a tragic turn of events, a total of 24 patients died in Chamarajanagar district, 175 kilometres from Bengaluru, on Sunday, after hospitals ran out of oxygen. Officials said that 23 patients died at the district Covid-19 hospital and one at a private hospital.

According to the district administration, as many as 12 patients died due to lack of oxygen, while others died of co-morbid conditions.

However, locals alleged that the authorities were fabricating the number of deaths. They claimed that even non-Covid-19 patients had to face oxygen shortage, resulting in deaths.

Dr M R Ravi, Deputy Commissioner, Chamarajanagar said, “A total of 24 deaths have happened between Sunday morning and Monday morning. While 23 have died in the district hosptial, one person has died at a private facility. We cannot say that all patients have died due to lack of oxygen.”

Doctors at the district hospital confirmed that 12 deaths were due to a shortage of oxygen while others succumbed to various co-morbid conditions.

Unfortunately, the oxygen plant at the hospital had also run short of oxygen by the night of Sunday, according to sources at the hospital. The 6,000-litre capacity oxygen plant on the hospital premises can sustain the oxygen needs for 1.5 days, and they ran out on Sunday evening.

Relatives and family members of the deceased patients gathered in large numbers outside the Chamarajanagar hospital and blamed the officials for the mess. Videos and photographs of hospital attendants tending to Covid patients by waving towels and hand-held fans in the middle of the night went viral on social media.

Most of the deceased belonged to the 30-40 age group and a few of them were married only a couple of months ago, sources at the district hospital told DH.

S Suresh Kumar, District in-charge minister told media persons in Bengaluru that he had visited the district 2-3 days ago and reviewed the situation. “Every life is precious and any death brings us intense grief. We have sought a report on the deaths and the audit report is likely to come by today afternoon. We will initiate action against whoever is responsible for this,” Suresh Kumar said.

The minister also pointed that in most of the cases people were coming to the hospital at the last stage.

District officials said that the oxygen supply that was due from the neighbouring Mysuru district was not received on time which led to the disaster.

However, the Mysuru district administration clarified that a total of 250 oxygen cylinders were sent to Chamarajanagar by Sunday midnight and there was no delay from the Mysuru district administration.

“The oxygen liquid was due for supply from Ballari to Chamarajanagar. We do not know whether that has reached the district. As per SOS request from the Chamarajanagar district administration, we supplied the required oxygen. The Mysore Southern Gas has supplied 210 cylinders and the Mysuru District hospital dispatched 40 cylinders on Sunday midnight to Chamarajanagar,” the statement from Mysuru district administration said.

A tanker carrying medical oxygen from Ballari, reached Chamarajanagar on Monday afternoon.

The district Covid hospital has a total of 24 ventilators, 53 ICU beds and 55 oxygenated beds and all beds have been occupied at Chamarajanagar.

In the meantime, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has asked health minister Dr Sudhakar to immediately visit the district and take stock of the situation. The Chief Minister has also summoned an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening in the backdrop of the incident and the severe short supply of oxygen across Karnataka.

Congress demands explanation

National Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted the news and criticised the government's handling of the situation.

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Congress Karnataka chief D K Shivakumar said the government is only interested in publicity and does not take any responsibility.

"The chief minister and ministers are not able to handle it (administration). So, after the Congress Legislative Party meeting today, I will meet the Chief Secretary and ask him to present the truth before the people of the state," Shivakumar told reporters, reacting to the Chamarajanagar incident.

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Published 03 May 2021, 04:59 IST

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