As many as 22 Covid patients allegedly died after a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra district while conducting an oxygen mock drill to check who all were vulnerable.
In a video that has now gone viral on social media, a man can be heard saying that he got the oxygen supply snapped for 5 minutes. And this was part of an experiment to know who all can survive, he claimed.
According to reports, the man in the video is Arinjay Jain, owner of Paras Hospital in Agra. The man said that the hospital feared an oxygen shortage. Hence he decided to conduct a mock drill to check who all were critical.
The man said he found 22 Covid patients vulnerable. “They turned blue in 5 minutes.” The drill was conducted on April 27 at 7 am, the man can be heard saying in the video.
Govt to initiate probe
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has said it will carry out a probe into to matter.
Further, Jain purportedly claimed there was an acute shortage of oxygen at his hospital during a raging Covid surge in the western UP town, and elsewhere in the state.
“We were told that even the Chief Minister cannot get oxygen, so start discharging patients. Modi Nagar is dry. We started counselling families. Some were willing to listen but the others said they would not leave.
“I said ok let’s do a mock drill. We will find out who will die and who will survive. So we did that at 7 am. A mock drill was done. No one knows. Then we identified 22 Covid patients. We realised they would die. This was done for 5 minutes. They started turning blue,” the owner of Paras Hospital, said in the 1.5-minute audio clip on April 28.
The hospital also has a Covid facility within its premises.
No Covid death on that day: DM
However, in a statement to the media, Agra District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh claimed there was no death due to lack of oxygen on that day the alleged video was recorded. However, he said a probe would be conducted.
“Initially, there was some panic and shortage but we sorted all that out in 48 hours. In this hospital, there have been seven Covid deaths on the 26th and 27th of April. The hospital also has a lot of other ICU beds. There is no truth that 22 Covid patients died but we will carry out an inquiry,” Singh said in a statement.
Misinterpreted, says Hospital owner
After the audio clip was widely circulated, the hospital owner indicated that his statements were misinterpreted. “We too had received instructions from the administration for judicious and rational use of oxygen. In the third week of April, we categorised our patients into those who were on high flow and those on low flow (of oxygen),” Jain said.
“We had to find out the oxygen dependency of the patients to understand how we can handle the situation if there is an oxygen shortage or if the supply gets over.
“Mock drill means taking stock of the situation before facing an issue, to understand how to work in an emergency. We had categorised the patients… We categorised Covid patients to see which patient needs how much oxygen… A mock drill does not mean switching off a patient’s oxygen. We did not switch off oxygen. I did not clearly say so in the video. I said a mock drill was done at 7 am. In this, 22 patients were segregated.”
Rahul Gandhi condemns incident
Top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condemned the incident, hitting out at the ruling BJP. “There is a severe shortage of both oxygen and humanity under the BJP rule,” he said in a Hindi tweet, calling for swift action against those responsible for the “dangerous crime”.
He also offered his condolences to the families of those who died allegedly due to the oxygen shortage.