No Oxygen Shortage: Andhra Officials Blame COVID-19 for 13 Deaths
Relatives of the deceased alleged that the patients died due to interruption in oxygen supply.
Eleven COVID-19 patients died in Anantapur Sarvajana Government Hospital around 6 pm on Saturday, 1 May.
Speaking to the media, relatives of the deceased claimed that the patients died due to interruption in oxygen supply and alleged negligence on the part of the hospital staff.
However, officials denied the claims. They said that the patients died due to COVID-19 complications.
Vamsi, one of the patients’ relatives, said, "Six patients from one ward alone died while their oxygen saturation levels slowly dropped from 90 to 70 and then to 60. There could be other cases in other wards.
When the patients' relatives informed the hospital staff, they were told that the technical team for oxygen supply was yet to arrive and check on the issue and did not help in any way. If there were normal oxygen cylinders, those lives could have been saved."
Meanwhile, following the allegations, Joint Collector Nishant Kumar inspected the hospital and submitted a report to the government stating that the deaths were not because of any issue in oxygen supply, but due to COVID-19 and other complications.
Releasing an official statement, Principal Health Secretary Anil Kumar Singhal said that there was no oxygen shortage in the state and medical oxygen was available at all the designated COVID-19 hospitals. He expressed grief over the 11 deaths at the Anantapur Sarvajana hospital and said that the deaths happened because of general complications due to COVID-19 and some due to health issues.
“We have inspected the Anantapur Sarvajana Government Hospital and there is an uninterrupted oxygen supply from the oxygen plant to the patient’s bed,” added the statement released by the I & PR department of Andhra Pradesh.
In another incident, two patients died at a Kurnool private hospital. However, the hospital officials denied any lack of oxygen supply.
Two Patients Die in Kurnool Hospital
District authorities in Andhra’s Kurnool also denied reports that four COVID-19 patients died due to oxygen shortage at a private hospital. District Collector G Veerapandian said two persons with COVID-19 symptoms had died at the hospital on 1 May, and, claimed there was an adequate supply of oxygen at the hospital.
“They hadn’t tested positive yet, but they had COVID-19 symptoms. We are not sure if they died due to COVID-19, but there was definitely no shortage of oxygen,” the Collector said.
A few television channels had reported that four to five COVID-19 patients had died due to a shortage of oxygen at KS Care Hospital in the Sampath Nagar area of Kurnool.
Insisting that there was an adequate supply of medical oxygen at the hospital, Collector Veerapandian said, “There are enough oxygen cylinders. The supply line is also working. We have also seen the receipts of the oxygen cylinders delivered here last night.”
He asked the media to refrain from reporting unverified information as it would create panic among the public about the availability of medical oxygen.
Refer to List of Notified Hosps
Authorities said that KS Care Hospital is not a notified COVID-19 hospital. Veerapandian asked people to refer to the list of 28 notified hospitals in the district for treatment of COVID-19 patients.
He noted that the managing director of one hospital in the city has already been booked for violating norms.
Earlier this week, authorities of Gayathri Hospital were booked by Kurnool police for misappropriating the antiviral drug Remdesivir, overcharging patients and appointing unqualified persons to treat them.
The remaining patients admitted to KS Care Hospital are reportedly being shifted to the Kurnool Government General Hospital. The Collector has said that the District Medical and Health Officer and police officers are collecting further information, and action will be taken on the hospital, based on their reports.
A relative of one of the patients who died at the hospital told mediapersons that the patient had been suffering from COVID-19. He said the family had admitted the patient to KS Care, as government hospitals and other COVID-care facilities in the city did not have beds available.
(The article was originally published in The News Minute and has been reposted with permission.)
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