MP: Five COVID-19 patients die as hospital runs out of oxygen

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(Eds: adding quotes) Jabalpur (MP), Apr 23 (PTI) Five coronavirus patients admitted to the ICU of a private hospital here died allegedly after its oxygen supply ran out, prompting the authorities to order a probe.

The incident which took place on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday at Galaxy Hospital came amid a grave medical oxygen shortage crisis in many parts of the country.

'As per the family members, the patients died after the stock of oxygen got over,' said City Superintendent of Police (CSP) Dipak Mishra.

The hospital management, however, was not available for comment despite several calls.

A police team which was on patrolling duty in the area reached the spot after receiving information about commotion and loud protests by patients' relatives outside the hospital.

The relatives alleged that their loved ones died due to the lack of oxygen as the stock got exhausted, CSP Mishra said.

'We have set up a four-member committee to probe the deaths,' said Collector Karamveer Sharma in a video message.

The committee comprises a joint collector, a doctor, a senior police official and deputy collector (who has the responsibility of monitoring the medical oxygen supply in district).

It will probe why despite regular supply of oxygen the incident took place, the collector said. Authorities are regularly monitoring the supply of oxygen to government and private hospitals, he added.

As per CSP Mishra, a vehicle which was ferrying ten oxygen cylinders to the hospital broke down late at night.

A police team was then rushed to the supplier to collect the cylinders. 'Another vehicle was arranged and the cylinders were brought to the hospital,' he said.

Family members of the deceased urged the police to conduct an inquiry.

'We are waiting for a written complaint to start a probe,' Mishra said.

BJP MLA and former health minister Ajay Vishnoi claimed there was no shortage of oxygen in Jabalpur district and blamed the hospital for 'poor management'.

'The hospital should have made arrangements for the supply of medical oxygen in advance considering the requirement. There is no shortage of medical oxygen in the district,' he said.

Congress MLAs Tarun Bhanot, Lakhan Ghanghoria, Vinay Saxena and district unit president Dinesh Yadav lodged a protest with the collector over the incident.

Saxena, MLA from Jabalpur North, told PTI that they requested the collector to ensure a proper monitoring of the supply.

He also said that private hospitals should enable family members to watch, through live video feed, the treatment given to the patients. PTI COR LAL NP KRK KRK