COVID-19: 13 patients die in Tamil Nadu hospital, oxygen shortage suspected
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Chennai: In a tragic incident, 13 patients at a government hospital in Chengalpattu near Chennai, died late on Tuesday night due to alleged shortage of oxygen. The district administration, however, denied any shortage of oxygen, while officials of Health Department attributed the deaths to “fluctuations in oxygen pressure.”

According to Health Department, only one of the deceased was a COVID-19 patient and the others were admitted with complaints of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI).

Sources claimed that toll could be higher as eyewitnesses had seen two more bodies in the Chengalpattu hospital.

John Louis, Collector of Chengalpattu, told journalists that there was a fault in the oxygen supplying machine but it was rectified. He insisted that none of the deaths were due to oxygen shortage.

However, a doctor at the hospital requesting anonymity claimed that oxygen was in short supply. The hospital had 450 beds with an oxygen facility but the number of patients were more, he claimed.

Director of Medical Education R Narayana Babu conducted an inquiry into the incident. He was not reachable over the phone for comments.

A Health Department official, however, said as many as 300 COVID-19 patients at the hospital were fine. The hospital, he said had 22 KL oxygen capacity and the tank was refilled with 5 KL on Tuesday. “So, 6 KL of oxygen available and at night we filed 7KL,” he said. The hospital’s current daily oxygen requirement was 4KL.

Deaths in Salem

In another development, three COVID-19 patients died in ambulances waiting to get admission at the Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College and Hospital in Salem district in western Tamil Nadu. The deceased included a 30 year old woman.

Relatives of the patients alleged that they were waiting for a long time to get admitted.

However, hospital authorities said the patients, who were referred from private hospitals, were being treated in the ambulance, while beds were being readied for admissions.

Hospital Dean Dr R Murugesan said that the patients, all of whom had comorbidities, died “without responding to treatment” administered in the ambulances.

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