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Five minute pause in oxygen supply kills 11 COVID patients at Indian hospital

A five-minute delay in reloading oxygen at an Indian hospital led to the deaths of at least 11 COVID-19 patients getting treatment in the ICU of the health facility. The tragic incident occurred at a government-run Ruia Hospital in Chittoor district of India’s Andhra Pradesh state.
A district official M Hari Narayanan while detailing it said that at least 11 Covid-19 patients died due to a problem in oxygen supply inside the ICU ward. “There was a five-minute lag in reloading the oxygen cylinder that caused the pressure to drop, resulting in the deaths,” he said.

“The oxygen supply was restored within five minutes and everything is now normal. Because of this, we could prevent more casualties,” Hari Narayanan added. About 30 doctors were immediately rushed into the ICU to attend to the patients. The Collector said there was no scarcity of oxygen in the hospital and adequate supply was in place.

In all, about 700 Covid-19 patients were undergoing treatment in the ICU and oxygen beds in Ruia while another 300 were in normal wards. In a previous related matter, at least 24 Covid-19 patients died in a hospital in Nashik city after they lost oxygen supply due to a leak.

The patients, who were either on ventilator or oxygen support, suffocated to death after their oxygen supply stopped suddenly because of a malfunction in the main storage at Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital. According to an official, the tank from which liquid oxygen leaked was operationalized just 21 days before the incident.

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