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Friday, May 07, 2021

Gorakhpur hospital pulls plug on oxygen supply, 3 patients dead

The hospital’s owner claimed the oxygen supply was stopped with the consent of the families of the three, and added that doctors “chose to save lives of younger patients”.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow |
Updated: April 25, 2021 1:34:49 am
A man loading oxygen cylinders in a truck for supply. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Three Covid-19 patients on ventilator support in a Gorakhpur hospital died after the medical facility pulled their oxygen support saying their condition had not improved in a week. The hospital’s owner claimed the oxygen supply was stopped with the consent of the families of the three, and added that doctors “chose to save lives of younger patients”.

One of the three patients was 70 years old while another was 10 years younger. The third patient was 55 years old. “The three were critical patients and were dependent on oxygen with 90 per cent damage to lungs. They could not have been saved anyway, so we requested people to vacate the beds for new patients. They agreed, and took them away…Two of them were women, while one was a man. They had not shown any response for last the five days, and the moment we would withdraw the oxygen support, their oxygen levels were dropping to 30. It seemed that some young patients could have been saved in place of them. How long could we have delayed their death? The waiting list is very long,” reasoned Durgawati Hospital’s owner Dr Manoj Yadav.

He said, “They were on ventilators. The three families agreed, after we spoke to them. There was no need for a written confirmation from them.”

Dr Yadav told reporters there was an acute shortage of oxygen in Gorakhpur. There are 30 Covid-19 patients at the hospital at present.

“If you see groups for COVID-19 control, you will see there is a major issue of medical oxygen supply. Vehicles have been parked for hours at suppliers, but there is very little oxygen,” the hospital owner said, adding that on Friday afternoon the oxygen supply at the hospital was almost finished when the local administration delivered 40 cylinders.

Gorakhpur District Magistrate (DM) K Vijayendra Pandian, however, told The Indian Express there was no shortage of medical oxygen in the hospital. “It is up to the doctors to decide when what has to be done. There is a protocol regarding this… We can’t question the competence of doctors. They are qualified medical practitioners and they are trying their best. You know there is no fixed treatment for coronavirus even now. It is wrong to find the doctors guilty at this time. Here, there are many people who are brain dead but alive. The doctor has to balance between the probability of survival…There are so many people waiting for ventilator beds,” he added.

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