Oxygen Shortage in Karnataka: 24 dead in Chamarajanagar District Hospital

Elected leaders point at lack of coordination between Mysore & Chamarajanagar district administration while district officers claim it was not their fault.

Chamarajanagara District Hospital

A shocking incident left 24 people, including 12 Corona patients, dead at the District Hospital of Chamarajanagar on Monday. However, the district administration has claimed that 12 patients died due to lack of oxygen supply and the other due to various co-morbidities and other reasons.

However, the family members of the dead and the locals have accused the authorities of being lying. They have also raised slogans against the hospital and district administration. The family of the dead have claimed that patients who were not infected with corona also died of oxygen deficiency.

Deccan Herald has reported quoting MR Ravi, District Collector of Chamarajanagara who said, “There were a total of 24 deaths between Sunday morning and Monday morning. At least 23 people have died in the district hospital, while one died in a private hospital. Not all patients died of oxygen deficiency.”

It has also reported citing sources from the hospital that oxygen supply fell short for the hospital from Sunday night itself.

The doctors at the district government hospital have confirmed that 12 deaths were due to lack of oxygen, while others died due to various other ailments. It is said that the oxygen plant with 6000 litre capacity within the hospital premises could hold the oxygen required for approximately 1.5 days, but the oxygen stored in it was over by Sunday evening.

Relatives of the deceased had gathered outside Chamarajanagar Hospital and have blamed the authorities for the mess. Videos and pictures of relatives and friends of the patients attempting with towels to blow wind so that patients could get enough oxygen at midnight have gone viral on social media and been immensely condemned.

Most of the patients who have died are between the ages of 30-40, some of whom were married just a few months ago.

Responding to this, District In-Charge Minister S Suresh Kumar who is also the Primary and Secondary Education minister of the state claimed that, “Every life is precious. While the supply of Oxygen was interrupted between 12.00 to 2.30 AM in the night [early morning of May 3rd], it might 2 or 3 people who died of oxygen shortages. Its not that all the 24 deaths happened due to a shortage of oxygen supply. Many people are being admitted after being critically ill. Hence, I humbly request people to reach out to hospitals as soon as there is an issue. We have requested a report on the incident and it will come by this afternoon. We will initiate proceedings against those responsible for the incident. In most cases, people are hospitalized at the last stage.”

However, it was only three days ago that he had visited the district and inspected the situation in the district hospitals. He had also inaugurated the 6000-litre oxygen unit at Chamarajanagar and had stated that there would be no problem with the oxygen supply in hospitals of the district henceforth.

District In-Charge Minister Suresh Kumar’s Facebook post a fews days ago.

According to Deccan Herald the district officials said that the oxygen that had to be supplied to the district from the neighboring district of Mysore was not well received in time, leading to the disaster.

However, the Mysore district administration has stated that they had supplied a total of 250 oxygen cylinders to Chamarajanagar by Sunday midnight and that there was no delay from their end.

Former Member of Parliament, Chamarajanagar R Dhruvanarayan, and the opposition parties including Congress and JD(S) has demanded a judicial probe into this incident.

While elected representatives point at the lack of coordination between the administrations of Mysuru and Chamarajanagar districts that resulted in the tragedy, the district officials have claimed that it was not their fault. Overall there is complete failure on part of the state govt to manage the present Covid pandemic outbreak.

The district Covid Hospital has a total of 24 ventilators, 53 ICU beds, and 55 oxygenated beds. All these beds are already full.

Also Read: Why is India’s largest Covid Care Center not in use Amidst Corona Crisis?

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