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Shut after owner’s ‘cut oxygen supply’ video, Agra hospital gets clean chit

Death audit committee finds during probe that "all patients had been treated as per Covid protocol"

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | New Delhi |
June 19, 2021 5:57:35 am
Notice at Shri Paras Hospital Tuesday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Agra’s Shri Paras Hospital, which was shut down after a purported video clip emerged of its owner talking about cutting off oxygen supply to Covid patients, has been given a clean chit by government officials. In the video, the owner, Dr Arinjay Jain, spoke about cutting off oxygen supply for five minutes as part of a “mock drill” to find out “who will die”. He said in the video that 22 patients were “filtered out” during this “experiment” as they “turned blue”.

A government committee set up to probe the incident has concluded that no deaths occurred because of the hospital’s actions.

“The death audit committee found during its probe that all patients had been treated as per Covid protocol and the details of their oxygen status and supply have been listed. It also found that the oxygen supply of any patient was not interrupted. Patients who died had comorbidities and (died) because of their critical condition. The hospital had been given adequate oxygen supply,” the report prepared by a 4-member committee stated.

The report found that 16 patients had died on the day of the alleged “experiment”. The report also highlighted the details of each patient who died on April 26.

Officials however found the hospital guilty of spreading fake information when the Covid wave was at its peak, said the report. The hospital discharged patients citing lack of oxygen even when there was enough supply, the probe found. Action against the hospital will be taken under relevant sections of the Epidemic Act, officials stated.

In the viral video, the doctor can be heard saying, “Ek mock drill kari humne subah 7 baje… Shoonya kar diye sabke. Phir chhaant gaye 22 mareej… Turant khol diye. 22 chhaant gaye je marenge. Chhatpata gaye, neele padne lage… Chalo, 74 bache… Time mil jayega… Sabse bada prayog yahi raha. (We did a mock drill at 7 am. We made it [oxygen supply] zero. Then 22 patients who were likely to die were filtered out … We immediately restored supply. They started turning blue… 74 remained… We got time… This was our biggest experiment),”

The probe found that 10 complaints and memorandums from three social organisations had been submitted against the hospital which merited setting up of the death audit. The committee consisted of three doctors from SN Medical College and an official from the Agra Medical Department.

“In this context, the doctor submitted before the committee that some words in the video were not his and the video had been circulated to create sensation and that it was part of a criminal conspiracy. The video was also used to blackmail him,” the report stated. The counter allegations will be probed separately by the police along with the role of a media person in the case, the report states.

Dr Jain had earlier told The Indian Express: “We adjusted the bed flow of oxygen of patients just to check what amount was required. Since everyone had been saying that oxygen must be used judiciously we decided to adjust levels to see if we could use less. We identified 22 patients who required high flow oxygen. We had sleepless nights over oxygen supply and this was our experiment to stabilise supply. We did not cut off oxygen as is being said everywhere. There is no irreversible impact of lowering oxygen supply.”

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