Nashik: A family member reacts after getting the news of medical oxygen gas leakage from a storage unit, which led to interruption in supply of oxygen to COVID-19 patients, in Nashik, Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Nashik: A family member reacts after getting the news of medical oxygen gas leakage from a storage unit, which led to interruption in supply of oxygen to COVID-19 patients, in Nashik, Wednesday, April 21, 2021
(PTI Photo)

MUMBAI: Twenty-four people perished at Dr Zakir Hussain NMC Hospital, Nashik, on Wednesday because of a leak in an oxygen storage tank, while it was being refilled. There were 150 patients in the hospital when the incident occurred. Officials said there was no oxygen flowing to ventilators for about 30 minutes, leading to the deaths.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a high-level probe into the incident and said the guilty would not be spared. DCM Ajit Pawar asked the district collectors to pay attention to safe and uninterrupted oxygen supply in all hospitals and strengthen the safety of hospitals.

Thackeray, as well as the Nashik Municipal Corporation, have announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. Relatives, who were in deep shock, demanded that the guilty should be taken to the task.

“The corona-crisis has plunged the country into a vicious cycle. Overall, there is a heterogenous battle against corona, one in which there is no oxygen, where there are no medicines and where there are no beds. Patients are dying because of this,” Thackeray said.

Nashik City Mayor Satish Kulkarni (BJP) clarified that there was no negligence by the corporation but said a high-level panel has been formed to probe the incident.

The District Guardian Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope and Food and Drug Administration Minister Dr Rajendra Shingane however, said the government had already ordered a probe.

Dr Shingane said, “It is an unfortunate incident. We are trying to get a detailed report. We have ordered an enquiry as well. Anyone found responsible will not be spared."

Nashik Collector Suraj Mandhare, who visited the hospital, said, “The supply tank set up in this hospital began leaking due to cork damage, after which the pressure decreased and those on invasive ventilators did not receive adequate oxygen on time. After nearly an hour, the same tank has been put back in operation. It was the decrease in pressure earlier, led to the incident,” he said.

President Ram Nath Kovind condoled the deaths. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths. In his message he said, “The tragedy at a hospital in Nashik because of oxygen tank leakage is heart-wrenching. Anguished by the loss of lives due to it. Condolences to the bereaved families in this sad hour.’’

Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, “I am distressed to hear the news of the accident caused by oxygen leakage in a hospital in Nashik. I express my deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in this incident. I pray to God for the well-being of all the other patients.”

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