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Agra Hosp Sealed Over ‘Oxygen Mock Drill’ Clip, FIR Against Owner

Paras hospital in Agra was sealed following an investigation by the district administration on Tuesday.

Updated
India
4 min read

Video Producer: Naman Shah
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

A viral video clip surfaced on Tuesday, 8 June, where a prominent private hospital owner in Agra was seen claiming he conducted an ‘oxygen mock drill’ in April when COVID-19 was surging across the country, to experiment how many critical patients needed oxygen. The drill allegedly led to 22 patients “turning blue”.

After this video clip surfaced, many reports claimed that the 22 patients had died due to the drill. An FIR has been registered and the hospital was immediately sealed after an investigation by the district administration. New admissions to the hospital were stopped and the existing patients were shifted to other hospitals, said the district magistrate of Agra.

However, Dr Arinjay Jain, owner of Agra's Paras Hospital, who is at the centre of the controversy said, "There was a mock drill. We conducted a clinical assessment to check how we can maintain a patient at a minimum level of oxygen. News of 22 deaths is baseless".

He added that the oxygen supply was not cut off during this exercise.

“It enabled us to identify patients who needed high-flow oxygen, so that we can make optional arrangements for them in case of acute oxygen shortage,” ANI quoted Jain as saying.

Following this, Jain said, “I am ready to cooperate in any investigation. Officials of the health department today visited the hospital and I gave them all information they needed. But unfortunately, my hospital has been sealed.”

District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh said that a case will be registered against the hospital under the Epidemic Act. There are 55 patients admitted in the hospital, who will be shifted to another medical facility by the team of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

Meanwhile, in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Paras Healthcare clarified that 'Shree Paras Hospital' which is a local hospital in the city of Agra, has no association with the Paras Hospitals Group in any way.

What Happened?

The matter highlighting the hospital's alleged lapse came to light after a video surfaced on Tuesday in which the hospital owner is heard saying that he conducted a "mock oxygen drill" on some critical patients.

Jain was was caught on camera reportedly saying that on the morning of 27 April he had snapped the oxygen supply of critical patients for five minutes to "experiment who would survive."

“We were told that even the Chief Minister cannot get oxygen, so start discharging patients. Modi Nagar is dry. We started counselling families. Some were willing to listen but the others said they would not leave. I said ok let’s do a mock drill. We will find out who will die and who will survive. So we did that at 7 am. A mock drill was done. No one knows. Then we identified 22 patients. We realised they would die. This was done for 5 minutes. They started turning blue.”
Arinjay Jain, Owner of Paras Hospital, as quoted by NDTV from the 1.5 minute audio clip which has now gone viral.

After the video clip from 28 April went viral, Jain offered his clarifications and said that his statement was being misconstrued.

However, as per the Agra DM, Jain was booked under Epidemic Act and Section 188 of IPC for creating fear among the populace. “In the video, he said there was no oxygen production at Modi Nagar plant.. such statements create fear among the public,” the DM said.

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‘No Deaths Due to Oxygen Shortage That Day’: Agra DM

Rubbishing the reports of 22 deaths due to ‘oxygen mock drill’, Agra DM Singh said, “Seven patients, including COVID infected, died in a private hospital due to an alleged oxygen shortage on 26-27 April. There were 22 critical patients admitted in the hospital but have no details of their death. We'll look into the video that has surfaced about their death,” reported ANI.

He later added that oxygen was available in the hospital when the video was shot. “Agra is a small city. There would be an outcry if 22 patients die at a hospital,” Singh said.

The District Magistrate said that all the deaths in the hospital are being audited separately by the CMO's team.

“(The) Fact is there were four deaths due to COVID that day and three more the next day. There were 97 patients admitted (at the hospital). ADM (city) and Additional CMO Mr Sharma have been named. We’ll verify the video and probe accordingly. But reports of 22 deaths is incorrect. No death due to lack of oxygen at the hospital.”

The Agra DM added, “We have investigated the private conversations on 28 April that took place in their personal chamber. Preliminary enquiry suggests that Paras Hospital was provided with 121, 117, and 135 D-type cylinders and as per the requirement, they were sufficient.”

Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Condemn the Incident

Hitting out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh, top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “There is a severe shortage of both oxygen and humanity under the BJP rule.” He also offered his condolences to the families of those who allegedly died due to the oxygen shortage.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also tweeted about the incident.

(With inputs from IANS, ANI and NDTV)

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