4 die as oxygen supply stops at trauma centre

Hospital

Health Minister orders inquiry Sushruta Trauma Centre blames private contractor Police register case of death due to negligence

Four patients on ventilator support at Delhi government's Sushruta Trauma Centre in North Delhi died early on Tuesday after oxygen supply in the ICU was apparently cut off for 12 minutes.

Hospital authorities said the contractor in charge of maintaining oxygen supply failed to ensure that there were enough back-up cylinders when the cylinder supplying oxygen ran out.

Health Minister Dr A K Walia said a three-member inquiry has been set up under the Special Secretary, Health, to investigate the deaths. A report will be submitted in three days.

The hospital is also conducting an inquiry under the head of the anaesthesia department at the Maulana Azad Medical College.

"The inquiry, headed by S B Shashank, Special Secretary (Health), will look into the causes of the incident, possible faults on the part of the company and our own staff, and the responsibilities of the anaesthesia department," Dr Walia said.

Additional Medical Superintendent of Sushruta Trauma Centre Dr Vikas Rampal said oxygen supply was first snapped for five to seven minutes since the pressure in the only cylinder in service was critically low.

"It took the representative of the private company another five minutes to replace the cylinder. The installation, management and maintenance of the oxygen supply system is with PES Installations Private Limited, in Punjabi Bagh," Dr Rampal said.

By the time supply was restored, Rihaana (36) and another 36-year-old unidentified patient recovering from a surgery after a head injury; and Javed (20) and Rajkumari (35) — both admitted for poisoning — had died.

A fifth patient, Vikram, who was also admitted in the six-bed ICU, was saved.

Rajkumari's husband Ram Babu said his wife was admitted on Friday. "My wife's condition was improving. On Monday night, the doctor said she would be discharged in a couple of days," he said.

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