At least 11 COVID-19 patients, who were admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU), died, following an oxygen supply breakdown at a government-run hospital in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, officials said Tuesday.
The deaths took place Monday evening in Tirupati, about 408 km south of Amaravati, the main city of Andhra Pradesh.
“Last evening, the oxygen supply disrupted in SVR Ruia hospital, following which 11 COVID-19 critical patients admitted in the ICU succumbed,’’ an official said.
The disturbing chaotic visuals from inside the wards show hospital staff trying to save sinking patients and desperate attendants crying helplessly, using hand fans to keep them alive.
Victims’ families alleged the oxygen supply was disrupted for about 25-45 minutes.
However, local government officials said it was the five-minute lag in reloading the oxygen cylinder that caused the pressure to drop, resulting in deaths.
Local media reports said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has condoled the deaths and ordered a probe into the incident.
The deaths have been reported at a time when India was fighting a deadly second wave of COVID-19, and the shortage of medical oxygen has emerged as a key challenge for the government.
Since the second wave of the infection, similar incidents have unfolded across the hospitals in India in wake of the shortage of essential medical supplies, especially oxygen.
India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 22,992,517 on Tuesday after 329,942 new cases were registered in the past 24 hours, and the total death toll rose to 249,992.
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