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Goa hospital horror continues as 13 more Covid patients die at GMCH; toll touches 75 in four days

While the state government has not revealed the exact cause of recent deaths, it has told the High Court that there were "logistic issues" related to supply of medical oxygen to patients.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 14, 2021 9:56:10 pm
The court also issued notice to the governments of Delhi and Haryana and the Centre, asking for their stand on the plea by May 25, the next date of hearing.

As many as 75 Covid-19 patients have died in the last four days at Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), the state’s largest Covid facility, owing to “logistic issues” in the supply of medical oxygen.

The toll climbed up with the death of 13 more patients on Friday. On Thursday, 15 deaths were recorded, the day before — Wednesday — 21 people died, and on Tuesday, 26 people had lost their lives.

The horror at GMCH is continuing even as the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court is hearing petitions related to deaths during the “dark hours” (between 2 am and 6 am) at the premier hospital.

While the state government has not revealed the exact cause of recent deaths at the GMCH, it has told the High Court that there were “logistic issues” related to supply of medical oxygen to patients.

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On Thursday, Advocate General Devidas Pangam had told a bench of Justices Nitin Sambre and Mahesh Sonak that there were logistical issues involved in manoeuvring the tractor which carries the trolleys of oxygen and in connecting the cylinders to the manifold (group of large gas cylinders).

The Goa government informed the HC that during the process of attaching the oxygen manifold there was some interruption, which results in fall of pressure in the supply lines of oxygen to patients. “We were explained that during this process, there was some interruption, which resulted in fall of pressure in the supply lines of oxygen to the patients. It was pointed out that it is basically on account of these factors some casualties may have taken place,” the bench had said.

A resident doctor at one of the GMCH wards said pressure in the central pipeline started falling at around 1 am on Thursday, and three patients in his ward succumbed to the fluctuations, despite their attempts to revive them. “Relatives called us frantically saying patients were gasping for breath and their saturation levels (SPO2) had dropped to 40-50.” On the night of Wednesday-Thursday, there was a drop in oxygen pressure at least five to six times, the doctor added.

Reacting to the deaths, the Goa Congress on Saturday said they will file criminal cases against Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Viswajit Rane.

In a statement, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar said the candid admission that there is a substantial deficit of oxygen supply by the BJP government in Goa shows that it is “irresponsible, insensitive and run by an incompetent and defective Chief Minister’.

“The Congress party is going to file a criminal complaint against both for culpable homicide,” Chodankar said. “If the health minister admits on camera that he was aware that patients were dying between 2 and 6 am on a daily basis and that the death toll in Goa would be around 200-300 per day, why did he not act upon it? What action did the chief minister and health minister take to avert the crisis?” he asked.

Calling it a genocide, the Goa Congress president said, “If needed, will move the court to get justice for those who were killed by the Chief Minister and Health Minister.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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