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Thursday, August 05, 2021

‘Shame, betrayal’: Kin of Jaipur Golden dead seek accountability

"It's a shame", "This is a betrayal" were among messages posted on the group that family members had formed to fight a legal case against the hospital, where 21 people had died after a dip in oxygen supply.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
Updated: July 22, 2021 8:10:26 am
21 people died at Jaipur Golden after a dip in oxygen supply.

By late Tuesday afternoon, the ‘Jaipur Golden Case’ WhatsApp group was seeing an outpouring of rage and disappointment. A day after the MoS for Health and Family Welfare told Rajya Sabha that “no death due to lack of oxygen has been specifically reported by states/UTs”, relatives of those who died at the hospital in Delhi on April 23 were furiously typing.

“It’s a shame”, “This is a betrayal” were among messages posted on the group that family members had formed to fight a legal case against the hospital, where 21 people had died after a dip in oxygen supply.

Erick Massey, whose mother Delphin Massey (60) was among the dead, said: “It is indeed shocking for the affected families that both state and central governments are playing politics over the deaths of people. Both are shrugging responsibility after they failed to provide basic treatment. This is like rubbing salt on our wounds. The Delhi government has been in denial if it thinks there were no deaths due to oxygen shortage. What’s surprising is even the central government did not question this claim and initiate a probe.”

Seema Avasthi (56), principal of a private school, was admitted to the hospital on April 8 after she tested positive and was having breathing issues. Her family said doctors told them she was recovering well. “We were informed around 10.50 pm on April 23 they were shifting her to ventilator and informed us at 11.30 pm that she had cardiac arrest. In her medical report, they mentioned she died at 12.05 am. So many families have lost loved ones just because of not having oxygen supply. Patients’ kin were not informed about any such shortage and it’s impending consequences,” her daughter Navya said. She recalled how during the second wave, every other post on social media platforms was people looking for oxygen cylinders. “Providing adequate health infrastructure is a government’s primary responsibility. Instead oftaking responsibility for the disaster, they are denying it. This is when the hospital has publicly accepted that the deaths have happened due to oxygen shortage,” she said.

The hospital told the High Court the Delhi government was to blame for oxygen not reaching on time. However, the government said its inquiry had shown the patients died of ‘respiratory failure’ and not oxygen shortage.

Gaurav Gera, whose father Charanjit Gera (49), an autorickshaw driver, died on April 24, asked how the government could even fathom that over 20 people could die almost simultaneously. “If those in power can deny the truth of thousands of people in the country’s Parliament, then there is no hope for people to get justice or even the closure they deserve after losing their loved ones. What they are saying are blatant lies,” he said.

“So many people have lost their family members and in some cases sole breadwinners, and all the government wants to do is indulge in politics. I don’t have words to express my angst,” said Sonali Goel, whose mother, Nisha (59), was among the dead.

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