Nashik hospital horror: Oxygen leak kills 24 virus patients

Photo: BNOdesk/Twitter
Photo: BNOdesk/Twitter

Nashik - The tragic incident added to the woes of Maharashtra, which reported its highest ever single-day spike in Covid deaths.

By Nithin Belle

Published: Wed 21 Apr 2021, 1:46 PM

Last updated: Wed 21 Apr 2021, 9:53 PM

At least two dozen Covid patients who were on ventilation and oxygen masks in a hospital in Nashik, about 220km from here, died after a leakage in the tank disrupted supplies on Wednesday.

The tragic incident added to the woes of Maharashtra, which reported its highest ever single-day spike in Covid deaths, with 568 people succumbing to the disease. The state also recorded a massive 67,468 new cases over the past 24 hours.

“The leakage was spotted at the tank supplying oxygen to these patients. The interrupted supply could be linked to the deaths of the patients in the hospital,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that he was stunned to learn of the hospital tragedy and expressed his condolences to the kin of the victims.

Pune continued to be the worst-affected city in Maharashtra with 10,852 cases and 35 deaths, while Mumbai saw 7,684 new cases and 62 deaths. Nagpur reported 7,555 cases and 41 deaths.

With almost 1,600 deaths on Wednesday, India’s total shot up to almost 185,000. And with 271,280 new cases, the number of confirmed cases has gone up to 15.88 million.

The situation in Delhi also continued to deteriorate, with thousands of Covid patients queuing up to get admission in hospitals. Many of the facilities are facing an acute shortage of oxygen, which prompted the Delhi high court to order the central government to divert all supplies from steel and petroleum plants to hospitals.

The court told the Indian government to immediately stop oxygen supplies to industrial units and ramp up medicine supplies and vaccinating people. It warned that the country was heading for a big disaster and “we may lose a crore (10 million) people if we do not act in time.”

Sadly, three northern states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana got embroiled in a nasty fight on Wednesday with ministers accusing those from the neighbouring states of not allowing oxygen to be transported to their cities.

The Delhi government told the high court that Inox, the main oxygen vendor for its hospitals, which has plants in Uttar Pradesh, was diverting supplies from the national capital and was distributing it in the larger state.

Satyendra Jain, Delhi’s health minister, tweeted that hospitals including GTB, Max and Ganga Ram in the capital had just a few hours’ supply and they were struggling to treat patients.

But a spokesman of the Uttar Pradesh government denied that it had forced Inox to divert supplies from Delhi to the state. “The Delhi government’s allegations are baseless,” he said.

Officials also accuse Delhi of grabbing a much higher share of oxygen from the supplier, depriving it of its supplies.

And adding to the controversy, Haryana too jumped into the fray on Wednesday, ordering the police to protect its oxygen tankers from being ‘looted’ by the Delhi government.

“We are being forced to give our oxygen to Delhi,” said Anil Vij, the Haryana health minister. “We will first meet our needs, then give to others. One of our oxygen tankers which was going to Faridabad was looted by Delhi government,” he told the media.

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