Karnataka: 24 dead at Chamarajanagar district hospital due to oxygen shortage; govt denies claim
State minister S Suresh Kumar said it is yet to be ascertained if all patients died due to oxygen shortage and ordered the district administration to submit a death audit report
As many as 24 patients including 23 suffering from COVID-19 , died in Karnataka's Chamarajanagar due to alleged oxygen shortage in the district hospital in the last 24 hours, officials told PTI.
At the Chamarajanagar district hospital, grieving kin of the deceased staged a demonstration at the hospital and alleged there was a shortage of oxygen and raised slogans.
Chamarajanagar district in-charge Minister S Suresh Kumar, who is also the Primary and Secondary Education Minister, said he has ordered a death audit report from the district administration into the incident, as per PTI.
He, however, maintained that all the deaths did not occur due to oxygen shortage. "It's not appropriate to say that all the 24 deaths happened due to oxygen shortage. These deaths had happened from Sunday morning to this morning. The oxygen shortage happened in the wee hours of Monday: from 12.30 am to 2.30 am," Kumar told reporters.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa too called the deputy commissioner of the district and obtained information about the incident and has called an emergency Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Suresh Kumar said the death audit report would detail what these patients were suffering from, whether they had any comorbidities and in which state they were brought to the hospital. "All the people who died may not have died due to oxygen shortage," he added.
According to him, there is a stock of 6,000 litres of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) but there was a need for oxygen cylinders. "The cylinders were supposed to come from Mysuru but there was some glitch," Kumar said.
“There were 24 deaths at the hospital, not all at the same time. 14 people died between Sunday morning to midnight, three patients died between 12 and 3 am. Between 3 am and Monday morning, seven more patients died. There was oxygen shortage at 10.30 pm which was sorted by getting 60 oxygen cylinders from Mysuru. 60 more cylinders arrived on Monday morning. The district has a requirement of 300-350 cylinders which is not being fulfilled," Dr MR Ravi, Deputy Commissioner, Chamrajnagar was quoted as saying by News18.
Kumar also said he has explained the situation to the Chief Secretary of the State, personal secretary to the Chief Minister and the Additional Director General of Police Pratap Reddy, who is in charge of oxygen supply in the state.
"I have also told the officials to find a permanent solution for the supply of oxygen in Chamarajanagar district. There indeed is a problem in Mysuru but that should not hinder the supply of oxygen from Mysuru to Chamarajanagar and Mandya," Suresh Kumar added.
Expressing his sorrow over the death of 24 people, the minister said he would be rushing to Chamarajanagar to take stock of the situation.
The Congress mounted an attack on the ruling BJP in Karnataka following the deaths and offered condolences to the families of those who passed away.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted:
Died or Killed?
My heartfelt condolences to their families.
How much more suffering before the ‘system’ wakes up? pic.twitter.com/JrfZbIo7zm
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 3, 2021
The All India Congress Committee general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded the arrest of the Health Minister.
"This is murder by designed negligence of Yediyurappa Govt ! The Health Minister must resign. Will CM Yediyurappa ji own moral responsibility for the deaths?" Surjewala tweeted.
Congress Karnataka chief DK Shivakumar said the government is only interested in publicity and does not take any responsibility.
"The chief minister and ministers are not able to handle it (administration). So, after the Congress Legislative Party meeting today, I will meet the Chief Secretary and ask him to present the truth before the people of the state," Shivakumar told reporters.
With inputs from PTI
The governments of West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu appealed to the Centre for an increased allocation of medical oxygen as cases rise
All shops and commercial establishments, hotels, pubs and bars will remain closed during this period, while essential goods and services like food, medicine, milk, fruits and vegetables, etc will be available from 6 am to 10 am
Responding to reports of at least 4,065 beds being blocked, the state ordered an investigation and promised to act ‘mercilessly’ against those found guilty