At least 11 COVID-19 patients died due to a problem in oxygen supply inside the ICU in the Ruia government hospital in Tirupati on the night of May 10, Chittoor District Collector M Hari Narayanan said. There was a five-minute lag in reloading the oxygen cylinders that caused the pressure of oxygen supply to drop, resulting in the deaths, he said. “The incident occurred due to pressure issues in oxygen supply. Some of the COVID-19 patients who were on ventilator support passed away due to the drop in pressure for about five minutes. Within five minutes, the delayed tanker arrived and the issue was addressed,” the District Collector said.
Several other patients affected by the interruption were reported to be in a critical condition. “So far, 11 patients have been declared dead. Rest of the patients are being treated. Around 30 doctors are in the ICU, monitoring the patients who are on ventilators, trying to save them. We will save as many patients as we can,” Hari Narayanan said.
The Collector claimed there was no scarcity of oxygen in the hospital, and adequate supply was in place. “The tanker we have right now will be sufficient. More tankers will arrive in the morning,” he told the media. In all, about 700 COVID-19 patients were undergoing treatment in the ICU and oxygen beds at Ruia hospital, while another 300 were in normal wards, according to PTI.
Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered a detailed investigation into the incident. He asked officials to take measures to avoid any recurrence of such incidents. He said that apart from oxygen supply, there must be focus on management of oxygen in hospitals.
Visuals from the hospital on the night of May 10 showed kin of COVID-19 patients frantically trying to revive them. Many infuriated caregivers alleged that the oxygen supply had been interrupted for as long as 45 minutes, and also alleged that no medical attention had been available to them during this period.
With inputs from PTI and IANS