3 die in Valley hospital as oxygen supply ‘stops’

Three patients in the Valley’s premier hospital — Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences — died when oxygen supply to the Surgical ICU “stopped” for about seven minutes

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar | Published: May 4, 2012 2:37 am

Three patients in the Valley’s premier hospital — Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) — died when oxygen supply to the Surgical ICU “stopped” for about seven minutes on Thursday.

Around 9.45 am,the resident doctors at the ICU found that complications started to develop suddenly in many patients admitted in the unit. The ICU was housing 12 patients at the time. Later,they found out that oxygen supply to the unit had stopped. The doctors immediately called the oxygen plant of the hospital but nobody responded to the call.

Before oxygen supply to the unit could be restored,two patients died while a woman Rukhsana,who had undergone a heart surgery,developed serious complications and died five hours later.

When the director of the institute,Dr Showkat Ahmad Zargar,was informed,he rushed to the Surgical ICU to assess the situation. And when the resident doctors informed him that oxygen supply to the unit had stopped for several minutes,he reportedly rebuked them.

“He asked them why they had told him about the oxygen problem in front of the attendants,” an attendant,witness to the incident,told The Indian Express. “If some patients were saved,it was because of these resident doctors. Instead of complimenting them,he shouted at them.”

When contacted,Dr Zargar said “only the pressure in the oxygen pipe had decreased”. He termed the deaths as “co-incidental”.

“I have myself supervised the situation,” he said. “The oxygen supply to the unit was not stopped. There are hundreds of pipes supplying oxygen to different parts of the hospital. They run around two to four kilometres. And in one of these pipes,the pressure had decreased,” Dr Zargar said.

Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Secretary Madhav Lal said he was not informed about the incident by the hospital administration.

“I have no idea about it,” he said. “If such a thing has happened,I will tell the Director to punish the guilty,” Lal added.

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