At least 11 COVID-19 patients died in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a government hospital due to disruption in the supply of medical oxygen in Andhra Pradesh's Tirupati on Monday, May 10.
The incident took place in Sri Venkateswara Ramnarayan Ruia government hospital where a five-minute delay in reloading the oxygen cylinder caused the fatalities, reported India Today.
Chittoor District Collector, M Hari Narayanan said that the oxygen supply was disrupted for about five minutes as there was a lag in the reloading of oxygen cylinders. Due to this, the oxygen level of the patients in the ICU ward dropped and they died.
He also mentioned that a delay in the arrival of oxygen tanker from Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu had triggered the crisis.
However, this does not go in agreement with what had been conveyed by the family members of the deceased as they alleged a lag that lasted 25-45 minutes.
"The oxygen supply was restored within five minutes and everything is now normal. We have connected bulk cylinders and there is no reason to worry. A major disaster was averted because of quick action by medical staff," said the collector.
A similar incident happened in the neighboring state of Telangana on Sunday, May 9. The oxygen supply in a government hospital in Hyderabad was disrupted for two hours, leading to the death of at least three patients.
In the past few weeks, many disturbing and heart-wrenching stories of COVID-19 deaths due to oxygen shortage have emerged in India. This has led to a crisis all over the country as medical officials try their best to tackle the second wave of the pandemic.
In view of this, a National Task Force, comprising 12 members has been set up by the Supreme Court to facilitate the availability and distribution of medical oxygen across the country.