MANGALURU: Ignoring the indifference of the Health Ministry in Tamil Nadu, Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader swung into action and made arrangements to transport liquid oxygen to the nearest medical college hospital in Chennai. The minister took these measures after learning about the death of 14 patients reportedly due to lack of oxygen and failure of ventilator at Madras Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (MIOT) Hospital. Sources close to Khader told Express that the minister had contacted the Health Minister in the Jayalalithaa government on Thursday and had expressed his government’s willingness to help. “The Health Minister in Tamil Nadu had informed Khader that only three districts were affected and thus doctors from other districts were mobilised to provide health care in the flood-hit areas,” source said.
The minister had sought Khader’s help to overcome scarcity of liquid oxygen. “The Tamil Nadu minister who had promised to send an SMS with details on where the liquid oxygen should be delivered did not keep his word. Khader kept making repeated phone calls, but the minister neither responded to calls nor returned the calls on Friday,” the source said. On Friday night, learning about the deaths in MIOT, Khader directed the Drugs Controller Department in Bengaluru to deliver a liquid oxygen tanker. Khader who was in Mumbai on Saturday could not be reached. Bengaluru-based drugs controller in the Drugs Control Department, Raghurama Bhandary, confirmed receiving directions from Khader to dispatch a tanker with liquid oxygen. “Liquid oxygen at the state government’s expense was offered free to the nearest medical college on Saturday morning,” Bhandary told Express.