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Chennai floods: Survived on bread, rain water, says MIOT patient

Chennai rains results in 18 patient deaths at the MIOT hospital which was hit by a power failure

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 6, 2015 5:11:26 am
chennai floods, chennai rains, floods in chennai, chennai MIOT hospital, chennai hospital, chennai hospital ICU, jayalalithaa, chennai flood news Grieving relatives of the people who lost their lives in the floods, at the Government Hospital, Royapettah in Chennai on Friday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar

At the MIOT hospital in Chennai that witnessed the death of 18 patients due to power failure, a patient who survived in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) said she was given only 120 ml oats and a slice of bread after the power went off. She added that the management abandoned them on Tuesday night.

Read full coverage of Chennai floods

Talking to The Indian Express, a relative of the patient who underwent a heart surgery last week, said they did not expect her loved one to survive after most of the doctors disappeared.

Shilpa, the relative who along with her husband, was taking care of her mother in law in the MIOT ICU were stranded since Tuesday night. Her mother-in-law, a leading human rights activist, did not want to reveal her identity as she fears that their relatives will panic. She is stable now and is being treated at another city hospital.

The activist said there was absolutely no help from the doctors or management.

Read | Sleepless in Chennai night, residents find home under flyovers, in flooded shelters 

“They abandoned us in ICU. There was no power or even a candle light in the ICU. We spent three days in dark chambers. There were no monitors in ICU. There was no hot water for patients. Thank fully few nurses who wanted to help us ensured 120ml oats and a slice of bread,” she said adding that she will go on record on these once she could reach all her relatives. “I am stable now. They will panic if they come to know about this from media,” she said.

Shilpa said she managed to spend three days with few chocolate bars and rainwater. “We were on the third floor. We had to collect rain water with buckets and small dishes kept for toilet purpose. After the power went off early morning Tuesday, there was absolutely no doctor for the next 24 hours. There was no candle light too. Nurses were the only saviours when all the doctors disappeared, ” she said.

Chennai: A wailing relative of the people who lost their lives in the floods, at the Government Hospital, Royapettah in Chennai on Friday. Several patients admitted to MIOT Hospital lost their lives due to heavy rainfall. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar (PTI12_4_2015_000336B) Chennai: A wailing relative of the people who lost their lives in the floods, at the Government Hospital, Royapettah in Chennai on Friday. Several patients admitted to MIOT Hospital lost their lives due to heavy rainfall. (PTI Photo)

“When there was no power and doctors on Wednesday, Dr Baashi and team had arrived on Thursday morning. Till then we had no clue about what the hospital is doing. Even after Dr Baashi came, few nurses who reached the hospital were asked to go back by the security men and authorities saying that there were no patients inside. But they insisted that they have to go inside and finally they were let in, ” Shilpa added.

Read| Centre quick to grant relief to other states, but laid back when it comes to Northeast: Gogoi 

Shilpa’s account becomes significant in the backdrop of relatives of many of the 18 patients who died in the hospital’s ventilator said the record shows that deaths occurred between 11.10pm and 11.30pm on Wednesday night. They added that the hospital did not inform the government or relatives about these deaths until Thursday evening. Most of the bodies which arrived at Royapettah government hospital were already decaying. Relatives and media personnel had to wear masks in the hospital compound in fear of health risks.

While none of the MIOT staff were seen at the Royapettah hospital on Friday or to console the relatives of the patients who died, they admitted to reporters later in the evening that there was a power failure that led to the tragedy. They said all patients were critically ill and that they tried to manually ventilate them too. A high level probe was ordered by the government.

State Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan said the hospital is located in a low-lying area. “It’s responsibility of a big hospital like MIOT to have adequate power supply and power generator. The management had completely abandoned the patients. Law will take its own course.”

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