CHANDIGARH: Six patients including five with COVID-19 died on Saturday morning at a private hospital in Amritsar due to shortage of medical oxygen.
Of the six critical patients who died at the Neelkanth Multispecialty Hospital, three were from Amritsar, two from Gurdaspur and one belonged to Taran Tarn. All of them were admitted on Thursday in the hospital as they were in a critical condition.
Family members of the victims said they were told yesterday night by the hospital staff that there is shortage of oxygen and they should make their own arrangements.
The hospital blamed the Amritsar district administration for the incident as they claimed that they informed the administration yesterday itself about the shortage of oxygen cylinders but no one listened to them.
Sources in the hospital said that they had repeatedly requested the district administration not to delay replenishing the medical oxygen cylinders. But they were told that the priority of supplying oxygen is to government hospitals and only after that the demand from the private hospitals would be met.
Sunil Devgan, Managing Director of Neelkanth Hospital, said, "We have requested the families of the patients to shift them to another hospital due limited supply of oxygen but the families did not agree. The district administration was giving oxygen supply to the government hospitals, thus it was responsible for the shortage in private hospitals."
Amritsar Civil Surgeon Dr Charanjit Singh said, "We will conduct an inquiry and ensure that no such incident happens in future. The management of this private hospital had given a written consent form to the family members of the patients which stated that the hospital is short of oxygen supply and that the family members are responsible for any consequence."
The local chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had yesterday apprised the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner of the shortage faced by private hospitals, as the administration had been diverting the entire oxygen supply to Government Medical College which is treating the maximum COVID-19 cases. The IMA alleged that private hospitals are not being given oxygen by vendors and police have been deployed outside the godowns so that the maximum supply is reserved for government hospitals.
Conforming that six people have died due to shortage of oxygen, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira, said, "A team will probe what exactly happened as the exact reason is yet to be ascertained and then submit its report after visiting the hospital. There is an apprehension that the patients died due to shortage of oxygen as the supply of oxygen has been diverted to Government
Khaira said, "We held a meeting yesterday with owners of private hospitals and told them not to admit any critical patient or those who need oxygen supply if they have shortage and should refer such patients to government hospitals."