HC steps in as kin demand CBI probe into COVID patient deaths in Jaipur Golden Hospital

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the Delhi government over a plea seeking CBI probe into the deaths of over 20 Covid patients on the intervening night of April 23 and 24 at the Jaipur Golden Hospital in the city.

A single judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli has sought response from the authorities and posted the matter for hearing on August 28. 

The court also asked the Delhi government what it was doing to take care of the families who have lost earning members or orphaned children.

The Delhi government’s lawyer said there are some schemes in place for welfare or counselling of such families and sought time to place the same on record.

Last month, a Delhi government-constituted enquiry committee had claimed that 20 patients died on April 23-24 due to pre-existing comorbidities and another patient due to lack of specific medicines.

The panel had rejected allegations of lack of medical oxygen as the reason for the deaths.

The petitioners stated that the cause of death of the victims has been mentioned as respiratory failure by the doctors for the reason that proper oxygen supply was not given to the deceased on time.

The plea moved by the relatives of some victims also sought seizure of important records and CCTV footage besides provision for compensation. Families of eight among 21 victims have moved the court. 

“That failure to provide adequate oxygen to family members of the petitioners in spite of having knowledge that shortage of oxygen would cause their death, the respondents herein are not only liable to pay compensation to the families of the deceased victims but they are also liable to be prosecuted for culpable homicide under 304 IPC and thus, strict action must be taken against them,” the plea read.

Gaurav Gera, a resident of Adarsh Nagar, said that the doctors had told him that his father was doing well and would be discharged in two-three days.

“The doctors said he was doing the best amongst everyone admitted in that ward. We were told his SPO2 was 99 and then suddenly on April 24, we were called upon to say he died. If oxygen was the issue, why didn’t the hospital alert us in time? We could have made some arrangements. If families can spend lakhs for Remdesivir, then oxygen cylinders were still easier to fetch,” he said.

Navya Awasthi, who lost her mother, said, “We think it is the right step. It gives us confidence that we are being heard and that justice will prevail.”

Timeline

April 3-23 
Covid-affected relatives of petitioners admitted. Most of the patients were recovering and the families were informed that they are stable

April 23-24
There was a shortage of medical oxygen in the hospital. Many patients started making calls to their families informing them about the shortage. Twenty one patients, most of whom were admitted in the critical care unit, died that night

April 24
The matter was mentioned in the HC and the counsel for the hospital submitted before court that 21 patients have lost their lives due to shortage of oxygen. Deep Baluja, the director of Jaipur Golden Hospital had made statements to the media that the oxygen supply at the hospital was over at 10:00 PM and the patients could not survive

April 27
HC directed Delhi govt to file a report with regard to particulars of deaths including number and reasons for the same

April 28
Principal Secretary, Health Dept, Delhi govt constituted a three-member committee to examine the case sheets of all patients and determine the cause of deaths

May 2
As per the report, 20 patients lost their lives due to pre-existing conditions and one due to lack of specific medicines. The committee claimed that the patients were receiving some form of oxygen therapy and ventilatory support and there was no mention of shortage of oxygen in any of the case sheets though the reason of death in all 21 cases was mentioned as respiratory failure in the proforma submitted by the hospital

June 4
HC issues notice on plea seeking CBI probe in to the deaths



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