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Deaths at GRH not due to power failure: Health secretary

During the power outage, the two generators provided for the block failed midway due to technical snag in the Automatic Mains Failure (AMF) board, the hospital authorities had said.

Published: 29th May 2019 03:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2019 03:45 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

MADURAI: Putting on record the final report submitted by the Dean of Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) over the death of three patients during power outage on May 7, Health Secretary Beela Rajesh said that the deaths were not related to power failure and that no further inquiry was required into the incident.    
On May 7, three patients admitted to ward 101 (Neuro Intensive Care Unit) in the annexe block (Trauma Care Centre) at GRH died in a span of 15 minutes during a power failure caused by heavy rain in the city. 
All the deceased – G Ravindran (52) of Ayan Karisalkulam village in Srivilliputhur, M Mallika (58) of Poonchuthi village in Melur and P Palaniammal (60) of Ottanchathiram – were on life support. While Ravindran and Palaniammal were being treated for head injuries, Mallika had undergone surgery for brain aneurysm at a private hospital on April 18 and was later shifted to GRH. 

During the power outage, the two generators provided for the block failed midway due to technical snag in the Automatic Mains Failure (AMF) board, the hospital authorities had said. The relatives of the deceased had alleged that the ventilators stopped functioning during the power outage, thereby disrupting the oxygen supply, and the patients were suffocated to death.  

Mallika passed away at 
6.55pm, Ravindran at 7 pm and Palaniammal at 7.05pm, said the dean, adding that the trio was already critical and the time of deaths was a coincidence. Dr Vanitha refuted the allegations of the relatives of the deceased and pointed out that the ventilators, which were equipped to function for a maximum of two hours using battery backup in the absence of power supply, had worked at the time of power failure. An autopsy was performed on the deceased on May 8 after the relatives sought an explanation for the deaths. 

The dean, on May 14, had submitted the final detailed report on the incident along with the postmortem reports to Health Secretary Beela Rajesh. Hospital sources told Express that the autopsy reports indicated ‘head injury’ as the cause of deaths of Ravindran, Palaniammal and Mallika.  

Commenting on this, K Manimuthu, husband of deceased Mallika who was on her bedside during the incident said, “The hospital and the government are lying to cover up the issue and the ventilators had indeed stopped functioning. Power failed around 5.50pm and five minutes later, my wife began to suffocate and died around 6.10 pm, followed by the two others. The hospital authorities are lying about the time of power outage and time of death,” he claimed and said that he would fight the issue legally and pointed at an ongoing case in the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.



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