Trauma ICU toll 5, govt admits no norms exist
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A day after four patients at the Sushruta Trauma Centre died after oxygen supply to the ICU was cut off, hospital authorities said a fifth patient, Vikram, died on Wednesday of cardiac arrest.
Even as compensation to the families of the deceased was announced, the Delhi government admitted to a lack of regulations concerning outsourced services in government hospitals.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the four patients who died early on Tuesday after oxygen supply to the ICU was cut for 12 minutes.
An inquiry committee set up to look into the issue is expected to submit its report within 15 days.
It was only after the incident that Health Minister Dr A K Walia called for a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be implemented in all Delhi hospitals.
"At present, there are no overall government guidelines and it was left to each hospital to format their SOPs. But an expert committee has been constituted to formulate an SOP and to review the existing medical procedures and facilities in government hospitals," Walia said.
The maintenance along with oxygen services at the Sushruta Trauma Centre was outsourced to a private company, PES Installations Pvt Ltd, in 1998.
A senior Health department official said that "such outsourced services were not regulated under any government guideline".
"So far, we do not even know how many of Delhi's 38 government hospitals have outsourced services to private companies, let alone laid down guidelines to regulate them," the official said .
Perhaps, too little and too late, Walia convened a meeting of Delhi's medical superintendents on Wednesday, who were asked "to continuously and critically examine all services, which have been outsourced".
Walia said, "The point of outsourcing must also include accountability. The contract system has to be scrupulously supervised and it must also be ensured whether the staff posted are qualified to perform the job or not."
The Health Minister also stressed the importance of protocol, where responsibilities are fixed. "This is required so that in case of any violation, disciplinary action is taken against the defaulters. At the apex level in hospitals,there must be well laid-down procedures," Walia said.
The four-member committee to review existing procedures will be chaired by Dr Arun Kumar Agarwal, Dean of the Maulana Azad Medical College.
Technician Amit Singh Katoch (25) and supervisor Madan Lal Sharma (66) have been arrested in connection with the oxygen supply failure at the Sushruta trauma centre that claimed five lives. Amit, a resident of Sadanand Colony in Bhalswa Dairy area, is a Class VIII dropout. Sharma lives in Guru Angad Nagar Extension, Laxmi Nagar.