The relatives of those who died in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Chennai’s Madras Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (MIOT) alleged on Friday that the tragedy was caused by a power failure due to flooding of the generator room that snapped oxygen supply and other life support systems.
Officials of the MIOT in Manapakkanam refused to comment, but Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Gnanadesikan promised a probe into the incident.
“You all know that MIOT hospital is located in a low-lying area. It is the responsibility of a big hospital like MIOT to have adequate power supply and power generator. The hospital’s management had completely abandoned the patients. Law will take its own course,” the chief secretary said.
Reacting to the deaths, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said: “Out of the 75 ICU patients in the MIOT hospital, 57 patients on ventilator were moved out. The remaining patients died over the past two to three days. Let us not jump the gun to say that the patients died due to power failure.”
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On Thursday night, Radhakrishnan had told The Indian Express that all the city hospitals were safe and the safety of the patients had been ensured. But on Friday after the news broke out, he said that those who died at MIOT were all “highly critical” patients.
Most of the relatives of the victims who came to know about the deaths through news channels rushed to Royapettah government hospital where the bodies were brought for post-mortem. They accused the MIOT hospital management of not heeding to their requests of moving out the patients to another hospital as the water level in Adyar increased.
“The (MIOT hospital) management ruled out any threat. They did not want to shift the patients to any government hospital. Now I lost my father,” said Devi Prasad, son of Rathna Raj, one of the 18 dead patients.
Prasad said that his father was admitted to the hospital on Saturday as he had some breathing problem but was doing fine with medication. “He had refused to undergo surgery, but I insisted him to go for it. He had no other health problems. He walked in during the admission and was put on ventilator because he had a throat surgery. As he was unable to speak after the surgery, he even wrote letters to family members on his last day. Now I realise that I got him killed by promising best treatment in the best hospital,” said Prasad. He said that his family paid Rs 4.5 lakh to the hospital in the last seven days and were supposed to pay another Rs 2.5.
Many of them also accused the hospital of deliberately hiding the news of their relative’s death.
Ravi, brother of 57-year-old Mohan and an AIADMK functionary who carries the photograph of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in his pocket, said his brother was admitted to the hospital on November 30 with a blood clot in his head. “Yesterday we were told that he is fine. Now we are told that he died on Wednesday night,” he said.
Prakash, friend of another victim Vadivel (35), said the body was moved out of MIOT at 10 pm on Thursday when the records show that he died on Wednesday night itself. “When we tried to see Vadivel on Thursday, they denied us the permission saying that he was fine,” he said.
Durga Prasad, son of 53-year-old Paramjyothi, who was admitted at MIOT after the recent Mangalore train derailment said he would understand if there was a crisis situation that led to her death. “But they shouldn’t have covered it up,” he added.
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