Don't Mock Us: COVID Victims' Kin To Govt On ‘No Death Due to Oxygen Shortage’

'If oxygen supply was good, why did my father die?" asks one of the COVID victims' family members.

News Videos
3 min read

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
Video Inputs:
Piyush Rai, Mohammad Sartaj Alam, Anthony Rozario

(This story was first published on 26 July 2021 and has been republished from The Quint's archives in light of the Uttar Pradesh government claiming that no death has been reported in the state due to lack of oxygen during the second COVID wave.)

The Union Health Ministry on 20 July, informed the Parliament that no deaths due to shortage of oxygen have been reported during the second wave of COVID-19.

In a written statement, minister of State for Health, Dr Bharti Pravin Pawar, informed in the Rajya Sabha that no state/UT reported deaths of COVID-19 patients due to lack of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) in the second wave.

Even though there was an uproar in the Rajya Sabha over the statement by the centre, at least five state governments i.e Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Goa have echoed similar sentiments.

The Big Oxygen Crises

Responding to these claims by the centre and state governments, families of those who lost their loved ones are shocked and numb. Erick Massey’s mother, Delphin Massey, 61, was one of the 25 patients who lost their lives at Delhi’s Jaipur Golden Hospital due to oxygen shortage. Erick says the government is mercilessly mocking the victims’ families.

"On the morning of 24 April at 2:30 am, I got a call from the hospital that my mother suffered a heart stroke. I was told that they tried to revive her, but they failed. After this, the very same day the MD, Dr Balucha, gave TV interviews and said that ‘It’s a clear case of oxygen shortage’. He narrated the whole timeline of how he struggled throughout the day on 23 April (to arrange for oxygen supply) but he couldn’t get any help. And by the time an oxygen tanker arrived, it was too late."
Erick Massey, Lost his mother to COVID

Meerut-based Puneet Agarwal, shares the same grief. On 10 May, he lost his father at the KMC Hospital due to COVID. He grieves that his father, S Shravan Kumar Agarwal, could have been alive if there was an adequate supply of oxygen.

"I was told that the hospital had a good amount of oxygen supply. That’s the reason I got him admitted there. The government claims that the oxygen supplies were adequate and enough. If the supply was good, then why did my father die? I want to ask the government, if the oxygen supply was sufficient, then why were the hospitals not equipped with oxygen?"
Puneet Agarwal, Lost his father to COVID

Rajnish Yadav Rinku lost his life on 27 April at Shri Paras Hospital in Agra. The private hospital is being investigated for an alleged ‘mock drill of deliberate cutting the oxygen supply’ but the mystery is yet to be solved. His family also claims that he died due to oxygen shortage.

Raju Yadav, brother-in-law of Rajnish Yadav, is absolutely baffled after hearing the statement made by the center in Rajya Sabha.

“You claim that there have been no deaths due to lack of oxygen. Did you ever speak to the families? Did you ask them what the situation was in April? The chaos I saw on 26 April, I don't have enough words to describe it.”
Raju Yadav, Lost his brother-in-law to COVID

Many families who lost loved ones claim that they would have been alive if there was sufficient oxygen supply. But now they want to give them dignity by getting them justice.

"We complained at the offices of DM, ADM. All the evidence was submitted to them in a pen drive. The DM had called for an inquiry, which was done by the ADME and ACMO. The report of this inquiry was never given to us. We had all the evidence. A hospital staff member was a witness. We ourselves were witnesses. Close to 32-33 people have recorded their statements in this case. Despite all of this, the report was not made available to the public."
Ankur Bainsla, Lost his brother to COVID

“In some time, the government can even say coronavirus never happened. The government is just lying,” says Puneet Agarwal. Now the real question is, if there was no oxygen shortage, why did India airlift oxygen tankers from around the world?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from videos and news-videos

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More