Oxygen shortage kills 24 in Karnataka hospital

Govt orders probe | Minister admits supply glitch | Claims not all deaths due to lack of oxygen

Oxygen shortage kills 24 in Karnataka hospital

Relatives of deceased patients grieve at Chamarajanagar district hospital in Karnataka on Monday. PTI

Bengaluru, May 3

In yet another hospital tragedy in the country in recent days, 24 patients, 23 of them Covid-infected, died at Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar district hospital due to alleged oxygen shortage.

The government has ordered a probe and warned of stringent action against those found guilty. The incident evoked a sharp response from the Congress, with party leader Rahul Gandhi wondering “how much more suffering before the ‘system’ wakes up”.

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Alleging oxygen shortage, the family members of the deceased staged a demonstration at the hospital and raised slogans. Chamarajanagar district in-charge Minister S Suresh Kumar, however, maintained all the deaths did not occur due to oxygen shortage. “It’s not appropriate to say all the 24 deaths were due to oxygen shortage. These deaths occurred from Sunday morning to this morning. The oxygen shortage happened in the wee hours of Monday—from 12.30 am to 2.30 am,” he said.

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Kumar said he had ordered a death audit report to find out what these patients were suffering from, whether they had any comorbidities and in which condition they were brought to the hospital.

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According to him, there was a stock of 6,000 litres of liquid medical oxygen (LMO), but there was a need for oxygen cylinders. “The cylinders were supposed to come from Mysuru, but there was some glitch,” he said.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa warned of strict action against those found responsible for the incident and also expressed shock over the deaths.

Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, hit out at the ruling BJP over the deaths. “Died or killed? My heartfelt condolences to their families. How much more suffering before the ‘system’ wakes up?” Gandhi tweeted. — PTI

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