The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government over reports of the death of 11 patients, including two children, in a state-run hospital in Indore due to alleged negligence of the hospital authorities.
According to the reports, the patients died at the Maharaja Yashwantrao (MY) Hospital as the oxygen supply “mysteriously” snapped for around 15 minutes between 3 AM and 4 AM on June 21.
The NHRC, which took suo motu cognisance of the case, on Tuesday observed that the content of the news reports, if true, indicated “gross negligence” on the part of the hospital, amounting to violation of right to life of the patients, who were in the medical care of a government-run facility. The commission has issued notice to the the chief secretary of the Madhya Pradesh government and sought a detailed report within four weeks.
The chief secretary has also been directed to submit a specific report as to whether “10-20 deaths a day”, as mentioned in the news reports, were occurring at the hospital due to lack of infrastructure or any kind of negligence, and whether the government had taken any step to address the issue, the NHRC said in a statement.
As per the media reports published on June 23, the chairman of the autonomous body of the MGM Medical Hospital, to which the MY Hospital is attached, had said that there was “no disruption in the oxygen supply” as he had been to “every ward” of the hospital after the local newspapers reported the deaths.
“The 1,400-bed hospital records 10-20 deaths a day. However, reportedly, a highly-placed source in the hospital had confirmed that there was disruption in the oxygen supply around 3 AM on June 21,” the NHRC said, quoting from the reports. It is further mentioned in the report that the oxygen delivery system of the hospital had been “under scanner” since the death of two children, who were given nitrogen gas, instead of oxygen, in the paediatric operation theatre on May 28, 2016.
Officials of the hospital have claimed that 60-70 patients are put on oxygen in different wards everyday. Hence, as per the NHRC report, if the oxygen supply was cut off, it would have affected the rest of the patients as well. “Reportedly, when the mediapersons sought to find answers (related to the case), all the records of the dead patients and the log book in which the record of oxygen supply is maintained, vanished.The hospital authorities had allegedly seized the records pertaining to the death of the patients from the wards, ICU and neonatal ICU. The figure of deaths also continued to vary from 11 to 16,” the NHRC said.