13 patients die in Tamil Nadu government hospital, officials deny shortage of oxygen supply

For representational purposes

For representational purposes

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According to sources, starting 4 pm Tuesday a series of patient deaths were reported in three different blocks, including in Medical ICU.

For representational purposes
For representational purposes

CHENNAI: At least 13 patients died since Tuesday evening in the Government Chengalpattu Medical College hospital. While a few sources in the hospital said it was the result of disruption in oxygen supply, the officials strongly denied it.

Chengalpattu Collector A John Louis acknowledged that there was a “technical glitch” on Tuesday due to low pressure in the liquid oxygen tank. But there were 40 oxygen cylinders using which the patients were given oxygen. He said all the patients died due to their illness.

According to sources, starting 4 pm Tuesday a series of patient deaths were reported in three different blocks, including in Medical ICU. “On Tuesday there was delay in refilling of oxygen. The tanker which was supposed to come around 12 noon didn’t turn up till 4pm. So, the supply got disrupted,” a hospital source told The New Indian Express. 

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the distirct collector John Louis said, “On Tuesday there were 309 patients on oxygen support. The hospital oxygen intake per day is usually around 2.9kL but on Tuesday it went up to 4.5KL. The hospital oxygen capacity is 23KL. On Tuesday morning there was 1.4KL of oxygen and in the evening 5KL was filled. Also there were 40 oxygen cylinders kept ready to use in case there is a drop in oxygen pressure. These cylinders were used last night. I was personally monitoring it.”

Among the deceased, only one was RT PCR confirmed Covid and others were suspected Covid patients and died due to various factors including age and other comorbidities, the collector stated. A team was formed under the Director of Medical Education Dr R Narayanan Babu to investigate the glitch that caused low pressure in the liquid oxygen tank.

However, sources in the hospital say that the oxygen supply to the hospital is not regular on most days. The suppliers are giving first preference to the private hospitals in and around Chengalpattu and delivering it delayed for the government hospital.

Five women were among the patients who died since Tuesday evening, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the doctors of the hospital also protested asking the authorities to address the oxygen supply issue and also manpower shortage.

They said there is acute manpower shortage in the hospital and doctors and staff nurses were facing wrath of the patients’ attenders putting them at risk. “We are the easy targets for attenders so we are worried,” said a doctor.

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