Updated: April 27, 2021 12:42:19 am
Jaipur Golden Hospital, where at least 20 deaths took place last week when the oxygen pressure dropped, Monday blamed the Delhi government for the deaths and said it had caused disruption in the supply chain.
Speaking before the Delhi High Court, the hospital said that an allocation order for 3.6 metric tonnes of oxygen was issued on April 22, but on April 23, oxygen was received 10-15 minutes late after several SOS calls. It said that normally it is in contact with the supplier, INOX, but now the communication is only between the state and the supplier.
Senior advocate Sachin Datta said on behalf of the hospital: “On April 22, I get the supply at 5 pm. On April 23, I was supposed to get at 5 pm but I did not get it. By midnight, I did not get anything. Nobody was taking my calls. Ultimately NCT (national capital territory) itself, when there were enormous SOS calls, managed to arrange and divert something from AIIMS, but it was about 10-15 minutes late. 10-15 minutes cost 21 lives, 21 families. There is shortage and uncertainty. Shortage is something because there is excess demand, but the uncertainty is created entirely by the Delhi government. The Delhi government is fishing in troubled waters. It does not understand the supply chain but it has waded in. The Deputy Chief Minister yesterday said the hospitals are unnecessarily issuing SOS. How many hours from deaths happening should we wait? Should we wait for two or three hours before deaths start happening.”
However, the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said the situation at present is not ordinary. “Today we are dealing with a situation where there is a dearth of oxygen, where the central government has stepped in for NCT, not for A,B,C, D hospital,” it said, adding that needs of other hospitals have to be looked at too.
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When Datta submitted that “bureaucratic machinery of Delhi has utterly failed the people of Delhi” and the hospital be allowed to directly deal with the supplier, senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, called it a political statement. “Mr Datta’s endeavour since yesterday has been only to malign and politicise everything,” Mehra said.
Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, representing INOX, earlier told the court that the last three days have shown “what a complete mess” the Delhi government has created.
“I have contracts with 45 hospitals. The allocation is fixed. Suddenly on Thursday-Friday, I am issued a notification by the Delhi government by saying that forget about 45, divert all your supplies to 17 hospitals. I ask myself, what about the other 28? I have to serve all 45 hospitals. The 28 are blaming me and sending SOS,” Nayar told the court.
“We have seen the position on the ground. The requirement has gone up. Supplies are not that much. They may require you to fine tune that. That exercise has been done. You must fall in line. That is a legal order under the Disaster Management Act,” said the court to INOX.
During the hearing, Additional Secretary, MHA, Piyush Goyal told the court that three young officers of Delhi government have been working hard since Saturday when the new system was put in place and there have been no distress calls since Sunday.
“On Thursday and Friday, there were certain instructions to INOX by the Delhi government which told it to supply to 17 hospitals instead of 45. There was no wrong intent. Delhi government wanted to streamline the system but in this process, because of the pressure and crisis probably they did not understand the issue fully, they failed to consult the stakeholders like suppliers,” Goyal told the court, adding that Jaipur Golden Hospital was one among the 28 hospitals, and then there was no proper system in place in Delhi.
The court later directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to hold a meeting with the suppliers, refilling units and representatives of hospitals and nursing homes regarding the supply chain. “You have a meeting, work out a way so that the flow of gas is done in a practical way,” it told Chief Secretary Vijay Dev. “What is coming to Delhi and how it is being distributed, there seems to be an issue in that.”
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