Uttar Pradesh health department on Tuesday initiated a probe after a video showed the owner of Paras Hospital in Agra, Dr Arinjay Jain, purportedly admitting that he had on April 26 got the oxygen supply of critical patients stopped for five minutes as an "experiment to know who all are going to survive."
In a viral video, Dr Jain could be heard saying: "During an acute shortage of oxygen... the hospital conducted a mock drill. We stopped the oxygen supply for five minutes at around 7 am on April 26. Twenty-two patients started gasping for breath and their bodies began turning blue. Then there were remaining 74 patients and we asked their family members to bring their own oxygen cylinders".
Meanwhile, the doctor has called the news reports as "baseless". "The video featuring me is going viral. The subject mentioned in the video is of April when second wave was on peak. By mistake or innocence, I mentioned the word 'mock drill' in the video but there was no mock drill as such," he said.
Dr Jain added that oxygen was not snapped during the "clinical assessment". "We conducted, calls it clinical assessment or mock drill, to check how we can maintain a patient at minimum level of oxygen in our effort to ensure its rationale use. During this exercise, bedside oxygen adjustment was made," he said. "Oxygen supply was not snapped during this exercise. It enabled us to identify patients who needed high-flow oxygen, so that we can make optional arrangements for them in case of accute oxygen shortage. News about 22 deaths are totally baseless," he added.
The doctor further said that he is ready to coperate in any investigation. "Officials of the health department today visited the hospital and I gave them all information they needed. But unfortunately, my hospital has been selaed," he said.
Besides, UP Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh said he has received a complaint that there were issues with providing oxygen at Paras Hospital. "Inquiry is underway, will let you know once the investigation is completed," he added.
According to Prabhu N Singh, District Magistrate (DM), Agra, at least seven patients including those with COVID died due to alleged oxygen shortage on April 26 and April 27 at Paras hospital.
"There were 22 critical patients admitted in the hospital but have no details of their deaths. We will look into the video that surfaced about their death. The fact is there were four deaths due to Covid that day and three more the next day. There were 97 patients admitted," he said.
"Additional district magistrate (city) of Agra and additional Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharma have been named in the case. We will verify the video and probe accordingly. But reports of 22 deaths is incorrect. No death due to lack of oxygen at the hospital was reported," the District Magistrate added.
He further informed that the district administration has investigated the private conversations on April 28 that took place in their personal chamber, and prima facia suggests that Paras hospital was provided with 121, 117 and 135 D-type cylinders and as per requirement they were sufficient.
Take strict action against those behind "heinous crime" at Agra hospital: Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday demanded strict action against those responsible for the reported death of 22 people at a hospital in Agra due to shortage of oxygen.
He cited a news report about a purported video of a doctor at a private hospital in Agra going viral on social media, in which he admits that 22 people died after he shut oxygen for 5 minutes during a mock drill.
"There is an acute shortage of oxygen and humanity in BJP rule. There should be strict action against those responsible for this heinous crime. My condolences are with the family members of the deceased in this hour of grief," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also shared the doctor's video on Twitter, and questioned who was responsible for the death of 22 patients.
(With ANI and PTI inputs)