VELLORE: In a shocking incident, seven patients, undergoing treatment at the covid ward and other critical care wards in Govt Vellore Medical College Hospital (GVMCH) at Adukkamparai in Vellore district, died under mysterious circumstances on Monday. While relatives of the dead alleged that snap in oxygen supply caused the death, government authorities claimed the cause of death was clinical conditions.
Four of the patients were undergoing treatment at the covid ward while three others were admitted at other critical care wards.
Tension and panic struck the premises of the hospital as angry relatives of the dead blamed the hospital authorities for the deaths. They alleged that the hospital authorities failed to save the lives of the patients by ensuring proper oxygen supply and were fuming at their "gross failure and lethargy".
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“There isn’t any supply of oxygen. When we asked the doctors, they said technicians were attending to the problem,” said Vinoth, the relative of a patient admitted at a critical care ward.
Cries and desperate calls rent the air at GVMCH as bereaved men and women broke down.
Sources noted that the supply network developed certain glitches cutting the supply to critically ill patients. Technicians were roped in immediately to rectify the problem.
However, authorities denied the deaths were due to the supply glitch and claimed that the patients had died due to clinical problems.
Top government officials, including Vellore district collector A Shanmuga Sundaram, are inquiring into the issue.
Talking to reporters, the collector said, “The deaths are not due to deficiencies in healthcare infrastructure.”
”The deaths were caused by clinical conditions. Four of them had with diabetes mellitus, hypertension and other comorbidities like renal failure and cardiac complications,” he said.
Noting that 59 patients at Covid wards and 62 in non-Covid wards were dependent on oxygen, he said that had there been any problems with the oxygen supply network, all others too would have been affected but they are in good condition.
GVMCH has a 10,000 litre-capacity oxygen tank and 55 cylinders are kept on standby. Moreover, a 6,000-litre capacity tank was commissioned on Monday, Shanmuga Sundaram said, adding that a detailed inquiry would be conducted into the issue.
Dean of GVMCH Dr R Selvi, who was with the collector, chose not to speak to reporters on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Director of Medical Education (DME) Narayanababu will be holding a probe into the deaths at GVMCH.
“DME will also be visiting the place (to hold a probe),” Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told The New Indian Express.
When queried on the timing of seven deaths on a single day at the GVMCH and the charges of the bereaved, he said, “I will ask him (DME) to check (on whether the oxygen supply snapped).”
Meanwhile, Narayanababu reached the medical college late in the evening and began the inquiry.