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Lesson learnt from Chamarajanagar tragedy: Prompt action saves 200 lives as Bengaluru hospital runs out of oxygen

On May 3, as many as 23 Covid patients died in Chamarajanagar district allegedly due to oxygen shortage.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 7, 2021 6:52:25 am
Karnataka, Covid-19Medics and relatives after 23 Covid-19 patients died, allegedly due to shortage of oxygen cylinders, in Chamarajanagara District of Karnataka. (Photo: PTI)

A major tragedy similar to the Chamarajanagar incident, where 23 people died due to oxygen shortage, has been averted at KC General Hospital in Malleshwaram, Bengaluru by the prompt action taken by Deputy Chief Minister Dr C N Ashwatha Narayan along with the timely alert by the doctors at the hospital who were monitoring the oxygen supply vertical in the hospital.

The government-run KC General Hospital had about 200 patients admitted for Covid-19 treatment at the time, of which 100 patients were on ventilators and ICU beds while another 100 were on oxygen-supported beds.

The hospital, which has an oxygen storage tank with a capacity of 6 tonnes, almost came down to barely 0.5 tonnes on Wednesday night. The oxygen supply which was supposed to come from Bellary based ProxAir private company did not arrive on time, creating panic among the staff of the hospital. Dr Renuka Prasad was monitoring the oxygen supply vertical. The staff immediately alerted Dr Ashwath Narayan, who is also the MLA of Malleshwaram constituency, about the emergency situation.

With lesson learnt from the tragedy in Chamarajanagar district, Narayan sensed the issue was serious in nature and identified another private company (Universal Company) located in Dabaspet — about 50 km from the city — and brought the oxygen late night via the Bengaluru-Pune National Highway with the help of a green corridor created by the police department.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Narayan, said, “I got a call at midnight 12.45 am Thursday from the hospital chief about a shortage of oxygen at the hospital, where 200 patients are admitted to oxygenated beds. The supply from the Bellary- based company did not happen on time. I immediately ordered oxygen from another company located near Bengaluru. The company responded immediately and agreed to send oxygen in a tanker to the hospital.”

“A green corridor was created by the police to bring the oxygen from Dabaspet and by 4.30 am, the oxygen tanker reached the hospital. I thank the staff of the hospital for their efforts, as well as the company and the police for their timely action which saved the lives of the patients at KC General hospital,” he added.

On May 3, as many as 23 Covid patients died in Chamarajanagar district allegedly due to oxygen shortage. The families of the deceased patients have alleged that the deaths occurred due of a shortage of medical oxygen at the facility. However, the state government has claimed that only three of the deaths occurred due to this reason.

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