24 Covid patients die after oxygen leak

Central and state leaders cutting across political lines expressed their grief over the tragedy that occurred on the day of Ram Navami…reports Asian Lite News.

In a horrific incident, at least 22 Covid-19 patients on ventilator support died at a Nashik public hospital after an abrupt drop in pressure due to leakage in oxygen supplies, and two others succumbed later, officials said.

The tragedy occurred at the Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital run by the BJP-controlled Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC), which is among the biggest civic bodies, and in one of the worst Covid-19 hotspots in the state.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and other senior Central and state leaders cutting across political lines expressed their grief over the tragedy that occurred on the day of Ram Navami.

Visiting the tragedy-hit hospital this evening, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that according to NMC officials and experts, there were certain technical glitches while oxygen was being transferred from a tank which caused a sudden variation in the pressure of the oxygen being administered in the Covid-19 ward, and 24 patients on ventilator beds died gasping for breath within minutes.

“However, the NMC authorities handled the crisis very efficiently and helped prevent a bigger tragedy. They managed to save a part of the oxygen, which is stored at below minus 180 degrees Celsius,” said Tope.

People were left speechless as visuals of the tragedy were posted on social media with the invisible gas stored in the tank under extremely cold minus-temperatures suddenly gushing out in snow-white, hissing clouds, with workers and others running around in panic. Some technicians were seen struggling with the controls to curb the deadly outflow.

At that time, around 150 patients were undergoing treatment on oxygen or ventilator beds but when the oxygen pressure plummeted without warning, the hospital staffers were seen running helter-skelter to save their lives by shifting them to other wards or nearby hospitals.

“It’s a very serious incident… coming due to a drop in pressure of the oxygen being administered to the patients,” Tope said of the tragedy, which happened as the state struggles to beef up its oxygen supplies.

Shaken by the sudden loss of their near and dear ones, wailing relatives slammed the NMC authorities, demanding to know who would take responsibility for the tragedy.

NMC Municipal Commissioner Kailash Jadhav termed it as “a very sad tragedy”, ordered a probe into the incident and assured action against all found guilty of lapses.

He said that owing to the leak, the oxygen supply was stopped for around half-an-hour, which culminated in the disaster that claimed 24 Covid patients.

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