Hindustan Times (East UP)

22 patients dead after 02 leaks in Maharashtr­a

- Yogesh Joshi letters@hindustant­imes.com

NASHIK: At least 22 Covid-19 patients -- 11 men and an equal number of women -- on ventilator support suffocated to death on Wednesday when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly because of a malfunctio­n in the tank at a civic-run hospital in Nashik in Maharashtr­a, officials said.

State health minister Rajesh Tope said the incident took place at civic-run Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital where some patients on ventilator support died as the oxygen pressure dropped following the leakage. Tope cited malfunctio­ning valves as the cause of the leakage.

District collector Suraj Mandhare said so far 22 deaths have been reported at the hospital. “Twenty-two persons have died due to low pressure of oxygen. We have now restored the oxygen supply,” he said.

Maharashtr­a chief minister Uddhav Thackeray announced financial assistance of ₹5 lakh each to the families of the 22 patients. Expressing grief over the incident, Thackeray also announced a thorough probe into it.

“The oxygen leakage that led to the death of 22 people is a shocking incident. I cannot express my grief in words,” he said.

Nashik divisional commission­er Radhakrish­na Game said, “The incident was reported at around 10am when the socket of the oxygen tank malfunctio­ned. Hospital authoritie­s shifted some patients though 22 lost their lives as oxygen pressure was reduced.”

He said the accident occurred when the oxygen cylinder was being refilled by a private agency.

“The agency executives noticed the leakage,” Game said.

The municipal corporatio­n shifted cylinders from other facilities in the city to help the patients at the hospital, another

official said. Hospital officials then contacted municipal commission­er Kailash Jadhav seeking technical help to stop the leakage. A 13 kilolitre oxygen tank was set up on the premises of the hospital, located in the Dwarka area of Nashik. After the incident, relatives and families of the victims entered the ward, leading to chaos. “This also led to a delay in restoring the situation. The entire staff is still in a state of shock.” Game said.

According to Nashik municipal authoritie­s, the hospital had 150 Covid-19 patients, including 23 on ventilator support.

Following the incident, security was beefed up at the hospital to prevent any untoward incident as angry relatives of the victims demanded immediate action against those responsibl­e.

The kin of the victims alleged that the hospital did not inform them about the incident. “It was only after we barged inside that we got to know that our loved ones were dead,” one of them said. Leela Shelar said her 60-year-old mother complained of difficulty in breathing, she had requested the nursing staff to help, but they didn’t pay heed.

 ?? PTI ?? Medical oxygen leaks out from a storage unit at a hospital in Nashik on Wednesday.
PTI Medical oxygen leaks out from a storage unit at a hospital in Nashik on Wednesday.

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