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Deaths due to oxygen shortage: Delhi govt to form 2nd panel to examine claims, seek L-G nod, says Manish Sisodia

The government had formed a six-member committee of medical experts on May 27 to assess claims of deaths due to oxygen shortage, but the L-G had struck it down, said the Deputy CM

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 13, 2021 7:08:18 am
delhi covid hospitals covid patients oxygen shortageSo far, the only committee that looked into allegations of oxygen shortage-related deaths in Delhi had examined data from six private hospitals. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Delhi government is once again attempting to form a committee to examine claims of deaths due to medical oxygen shortage during the second Covid wave in April-May, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said Thursday.

Addressing a webcast, Sisodia said the government will seek the approval of Lt-Governor Anil Baijal in this regard. The government had formed a six-member committee of medical experts to assess claims of deaths due to oxygen shortage, but the L-G had struck it down, Sisodia said.

The previous committee was formed on May 27. Sisodia said he has written to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya requesting him to ensure the L-G approves the committee this time, while expressing his disappointment with the handling of the matter of oxygen shortage deaths by the Centre.

“To say there were no oxygen deaths in April-May would be wrong and we cannot accept that. There have been around 25,000 Covid deaths in Delhi. But without a probe, it cannot be said as to how many died due to lack of oxygen. But saying there were no oxygen shortage deaths would amount to mocking the patients and their relatives who suffered, those SOS calls from doctors and hospitals and the media. Were hospitals and doctors and attendants of patients lying? We should first admit that there was oxygen shortage and then we should examine how many died due to that,” Sisodia said.

He added that the Centre wants data on one side, and “nixes committees formed to gather information on the other.”

So far, the only committee that looked into allegations of oxygen shortage-related deaths in Delhi had examined data from six private hospitals. It was formed on April 28 based on a Delhi High Court order.

In its report, submitted on May 2, the committee had observed that out of the six hospitals that shared records with it, only Jaipur Golden claimed deaths had taken place in its facility due to oxygen shortage. However, the committee concluded that since hospital records do not indicate any shortage of oxygen, it could not be ascertained as the cause of death.

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