Five COVID-19 patients die at Haryana private hospital, kin allege oxygen shortage as cause



HISAR: Five COVID-19 patients, including one from Delhi, died at a private hospital here on Monday with relatives of the deceased holding a protest alleging that they died due to grave shortage of medical oxygen at the facility.

The five deaths came within 24 hours of two similar incidents in Haryana, wherein eight people died in two private facilities in Rewari and Gurgaon allegedly due to shortage of medical oxygen.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said a magisterial probe has been ordered into the incidents, responding to questions from reporters in Panipat.

At the same time, he ruled any shortage of medical oxygen in the state.

Police earlier said they were verifying the allegations of oxygen shortage after relatives of some of the deceased held a protest outside the facility.

The hospital administration was, however, not available for comments on the matter.

Three of the patients who died at the hospital hailed from Haryana’s Hisar district and the other two belonged to Delhi and Punjab.

A police official said the bodies of the deceased were sent to the Agroha Medical College here following protocols and guidelines issued by the government for dealing with those who die of COVID-19.

Khattar, when asked about the deaths in two private hospitals of Rewari and Gurgaon allegedly due to oxygen shortage, said a magisterial probe has been ordered into these.

“In Hisar too, a magisterial probe has been ordered to find out whether it (the deaths) happened due to any mismanagement or anything else,” Khattar said, while asserting that “there is no oxygen shortage either in Hisar or at any other place.”

Earlier in the day, police had been deployed in and around the private hospital in Hisar to prevent any untoward incident.

Urban Estate Police Station in-charge Jagdish said that they were verifying allegations levelled by the family members of the deceased.

He, however, said so far they have not received any formal complaint from any of the family members of the deceased alleging any negligence on part of the hospital.

He also said Hisar’s Chief Medical Officer will investigate the entire incident.

Any action by the police, if needed, will be taken based on the CMO’s investigation report, the police official added.

On Sunday, four patients had died at a private hospital in Rewari allegedly due to a shortage of medical oxygen following which the district administration launched an investigation to ascertain the reason behind the deaths.

The Gurgaon district administration has also ordered a probe into the death of four patients in a private hospital after reports that they died due to alleged oxygen shortage in the facility.

The hospital authorities in Gurgaon, however, had denied these reports and said those who died were critically ill.

The opposition Congress, meanwhile, slammed the BJP-JJP led dispensation over the “oxygen shortage” issue.

“Mr Chief Minister, there is an outcry in Haryana due to oxygen shortage. People are losing their lives. Horrific scenes are being witnessed everywhere. Supply of oxygen to hospitals in Haryana should be made without delay,” state Congress president Kumari Selja said in a tweet on Monday.

India is struggling with a second wave of the coronavirus infection and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

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