A government inquiry has been ordered into the deaths of four persons in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Kanpur’s Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital. While some reports blamed the failure of the air-conditioning system for the deaths, hospital authorities denied this and said the patients died of medical complications.
Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital is an associated hospital of Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College. Navneet Kumar, College principal, said, “The ICU in the Medicine Department has 17 beds. Three persons died between 8 am Thursday and 8 am the next day. They died due to medical reasons — one suffered septicemia complications, two others had suffered a brain stroke. Equipment like ventilators, monitors and gas pipes were all working fine.”
He said details of the fourth death, which happened at around 6.15 am Thursday, was included in the earlier day’s records and did not divulge it. He admitted that staff had complained of the ICU’s faulty air-conditioner in the last few days.
“It took some time to fix it as the parts were not available. It is fully functional now,” he said. “This happened earlier too and it was brought to the attention of the hospital authorities. The agency, which was given the contract to maintain the air-conditioning had repaired it. But, lately it developed problems again. The district administration had arranged for two tower air-conditioners late Thursday night.”
A panel comprising doctors from King George’s Medical University and Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, and an engineer from the power department arrived at the hospital Friday to begin their probe. “As per hospital records, four deaths occurred Thursday,” said Satish Pal, Kanpur additional district magistrate, who visited the hospital with the inquiry team.
“While two patients were around 75-years-old, one was around 65 and another was 56. The AC system was not functioning properly for the past two-three days and hospital administration has informed that they had contacted the maintenance agency. They claimed that none of the life-saving equipment was affected. Only technical experts can inform whether this had any affect on the patients or not.”