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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Lucknow: Sun Hospital claims oxygen supply denied, district administration says not true

When contacted by The Indian Express, the in charge at Awadh Oxygen said that no such direction was given by the ADM to deny oxygen supply to Sun Hospital.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow |
May 8, 2021 6:28:48 am
A child suffering low oxygen level, being admitted to Lohia Hospital in Lucknow. (Express Photo by Vishal Srivastav)

Two days after an FIR was filed against Sun Hospital in Lucknow for allegedly spreading a rumour of oxygen shortage, the hospital authorities on Friday alleged that the district administration had asked the supplier not to give them oxygen. The administration, however, denied the allegation saying no such direction had been issued.

When contacted by The Indian Express, the in charge at Awadh Oxygen said that no such direction was given by the ADM to deny oxygen supply to Sun Hospital.

Later in the evening, the hospital claimed to have received five oxygen cylinders from the supplier against its demand of 25. As many as 20 Covid patients are on oxygen support at the facility at present and the hospital’s manager claimed that the back-up oxygen supply would run out at 11pm.

Speaking to The Indian Express on Friday night, the hospital’s manager Akhilesh Pandey claimed there were a total of 22 patients at the hospital, of which 20 were on oxygen support. He added that the back-up oxygen supply at the hospital will run out at 11 pm. “I called the ADM. He said that it was not his concern and asked me to hang up. What will I do when oxygen runs out? It will result in ruckus at hospital,” Pandey said.

On Wednesday, the Lucknow administration had filed an FIR against the hospital in Gomti Nagar, accusing it of spreading “false rumours” of oxygen shortage. On Thursday, the hospital administration, which had put up a notice on May 3 asking relatives to take away patients as it was facing an oxygen shortage, said it would move the Allahabad High Court over the FIR.

The Sun Hospital was declared a Covid facility around a month ago. On May 3, the 45-bed hospital had 38 patients, with the authorities claiming that all were on oxygen support at the time.

Earlier in the day, Pandey said, “Our usual supplier, Awadh Gas Agency, has been told to not provide us oxygen. When my employee went there to get oxygen this morning, he was told that the ADM had ordered not to provide oxygen to Sun Hospital.”

“Initially, we were told that till we have a written permission from the ADM, oxygen will not be supplied to Sun Hospital. We were informed that ADM (East) KP Singh had specifically said that oxygen will not be supplied to Sun Hospital. After some paperwork and repeated requests, we were finally allotted only five oxygen cylinders when our demand was for 25. We were the last to get the cylinders,” Pandey said.

“I have made several requests for oxygen on the official WhatsApp group for oxygen cylinders. There has been no reply as yet. This is what happened on May 3 as well, as I was not getting any response from officials for oxygen supply. That is why I had to put out a notice asking patients to be withdrawn,” Pandey added.

Asked about Pandey’s claim, Lucknow ADM (East) KP Singh dismissed the allegation,saying, “This is not true. I don’t have any idea about this. Why would we say something like this? I think there is no supply at Awadh at this point. Maybe because of that they may have been denied (supply). I got a call from someone at Awadh and I directed that oxygen should be provided to them (Sun Hospital).”

The Lucknow administration had earlier claimed that a probe by Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) Praful Tripathi found that on May 3, the hospital had eight jumbo cylinders filled with oxygen, in addition to being equipped with two B-type oxygen cylinders and concentrators, to tend to 20 Covid patients who were on oxygen support.

On Thursday, the hospital administration said it would move the Allahabad High Court over the FIR filed under sections of the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act, as well as IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life). Speaking on Friday evening, Advocate Abhinav Nath Tripathi, who filed a petition on behalf of the hospital, said that the Allahabad High Court will hear its plea on Monday. “It will be heard by the Lucknow Bench of the court on Monday. Our prayer is that a fair probe should be conducted into the sequence of events on May 3. We have also sought action against Lucknow DM and SDM Praful Tripathi for serving us a notice. We made an appeal to caregivers of patients to withdraw them on May 3 with an intention to save their lives and not to create fear or panic,” the lawyer said.

At a hearing on the prevailing Covid situation on May 4, the Allahabad High Court had said deaths of patients due to lack of oxygen supply “is a criminal act, not less than a genocide, by those who have been entrusted the task to ensure continuous procurement and supply chain of the liquid medical oxygen”. The court had also asked the district magistrates Meerut and Lucknow to verify reports of deaths of ICU patients at the new trauma centre at Meerut Medical College, as well as reports of two hospitals, one each in Meerut and Lucknow (Sun Hospital), asking relatives to take away their patients due to shortage of oxygen.

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