As many as 24 patients including 23 suffering from COVID-19 died in Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar due to alleged oxygen shortage in the district hospital in the last 24 hours, officials said.
A pall of gloom descended on the Chamarajanagar district hospital as the grieving kin of the deceased gathered after hearing the news.
Family members of the dead also staged a demonstration at the hospital and alleged there was a shorten of oxygen and raised slogans.
Chamarajanagar district in-charge Minister S Suresh Kumar, who is also the Primary and Secondary Education Minister, said he has ordered a death audit report from the district administration into the incident.
He, however, maintained that all the deaths did not occur due to oxygen shortage.
“It’s not appropriate to say that all the 24 deaths happened due to oxygen shortage. These deaths had happened from Sunday morning to this morning. The oxygen shortage happened in the wee hours of Monday — from 12.30 AM to 2.30 AM,” Kumar told reporters here.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa too called the deputy commissioner of the district and obtained information about the incident.
Suresh Kumar said the death audit report would detail what these patients were suffering from, whether they had any comorbidities and in which state they were brought to the hospital.
“All the people who died may not have died due to oxygen shortage,” he added.
According to him, there is a stock of 6,000 litres of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) but there was a need for oxygen cylinders.
“The cylinders were supposed to come from Mysuru but there was some glitch,” Kumar said.
He also said he has explained the situation to the Chief Secretary of the State, personal secretary to the Chief Minister and the Additional Director General of Police Pratap Reddy, who is in charge of oxygen supply in the state.
“I have also told the officials to find a permanent solution for the supply of oxygen in Chamarajanagar district.
There indeed is a problem in Mysuru but that should not hinder the supply of oxygen from Mysuru to Chamarajanagar and Mandya,” Suresh Kumar added.
Expressing his sorrow over the death of 24 people, the Minister said he would be rushing to Chamarajanagar to take stock of the situation.