MP shocker: Six COVID-19 patients die due to low pressure oxygen in Shahdol hospital

By Express News Service
SHAHDOL: Amid tall claims made by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government about adequate oxygen supply in Madhya Pradesh, at least six critical COVID patients died overnight allegedly due to low oxygen pressure at the government medical college in Shahdol district.

While unconfirmed reports put the casualty figure at 10 deaths, the Medical College management and the Shahdol district administration said low oxygen pressure cannot be blamed for the deaths, as it could have happened due to co-morbidities among the highly critical patients.

According to Shahdol divisional commissioner Rajiv Sharma, a report has been sought from the Medical College about the entire development. “We can say more once we get the report,” he said. 

The deceased patients’ kin, however, alleged that the deaths happened due to low oxygen supply at the hospital’s ICU. “My younger brother who was aged 31, was recovering from COVID-19 well till late Saturday night, but at 4 am on Sunday, we were told that he died. He died due to oxygen shortage,” Dhanpuri (Shahdol) resident Prem Kevlani alleged.

“A patient from our family who is 60 years old was admitted here for the last eight days. We fed him on Saturday night and returned at midnight, when doctors told us that he recovering. In the morning, we were told that our patient is no more. The hospital guard told us that our patient was among those who died due to shortage of oxygen as the cylinders were exhausted,” alleged Feroz Khan.

“My nephew has been admitted here for the last seven days and had food at 8 pm on Saturday. He was recovering fast, but died eight hours later due to a shortage of Oxygen supply at around 4 am,” alleged another patient’s kin Amit Jaiswal.

The Shahdol Medical College’s Dean Dr Milind Shiradnekar, while confirming the deaths of six critical patients at the hospital’s ICU, added that the deaths cannot be attributed to low oxygen pressure, but are likely to have been caused due to co-morbidities, as the patients were in highly critical condition.

“Had the deaths happened only due to low Oxygen pressure, why didn’t the condition of other patients at the ICU (total 62 patients were admitted there) and 25 patients at the private ward (who were also on oxygen support) worsen,” Dr Shiradnekar questioned.

He added that the hospital has a Liquid Medical Oxygen Plant, whose supply got exhausted at around midnight, causing the oxygen pressure at the hospital to turn low. “We managed oxygen supply to each and every patient the entire night through the Oxygen cylinders at our disposal, though the oxygen pressure was low. The tanker for rendering fresh oxygen supply had to reach the hospital on Saturday evening but got stuck somewhere. It’s likely to reach now on Sunday.”

Shahdol district collector Satendra Singh, who rushed to the Medical College following reports of the deaths, claimed that deaths happened due to co-morbidities and not due to low oxygen pressure.

Meanwhile, the former CM and MP Congress president Kamal Nath questioned CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s tall claims of adequate oxygen supply to dedicated COVID hospitals in the state. “The government failed to wake up out of its deep slumber, despite deaths due to shortage of Oxygen at Sagar, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Khandwa, Khargone, Indore and Ujjain in the recent past. No deaths have happened due to Oxygen shortage in Shahdol. How long will the CM and his government mislead people by producing false figures to prove there is adequate oxygen supply. Instead of just holding meetings and producing bogus statistics, the government needs to arrange Oxygen and Remdesivir injections on war footing,” Kamal Nath tweeted.

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday evening had said that the state is fast returning towards normalcy when it comes to Oxygen supply. “Against present daily Oxygen consumption of 335 metric tonnes, we’re already getting 350 metric tonnes daily. By April 20, we’ll be getting 445 metric tonnes supply daily and with the central government’s help we’ll be getting 565 metric tonnes daily by April 25 and 700 metric tonnes daily by April 30, which would be sufficient for the expected patient numbers by month-end,” he had said.