Chamarajnagar: Outrightly rejecting that 24 patients died due to interruption in oxygen supply at the Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) in Chamarajanagar district in the wee hours of Monday, Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhkar said that only 'three persons' died at CIMS between 12 am to 3 am on Monday due to oxygen shortage, and not 24 as the media is reporting.
After inspecting the CIMS hospital premises, Sudhakar, accompanied by district in-charge minister S. Suresh Kumar, said that the hospital has reported as many 24 deaths in the last 24 hours, and these deaths have occurred at different time gaps, so they cannot be clubbed with the 'three' deaths caused by the fluctuating supply of oxygen.
"Yes, there are certain lapses, which will come out after a thorough probe ordered by the state government is completed. We are neither backtracking on the number of Covid deaths nor lying about fluctuating supply of oxygen, which shows our commitment to keeping things transparent," he said.
He added that CIMS had 123 Covid patients of which 14 were on ventilator support, 36 on non-invasive ventilation (NIV), 58 on high-flow oxygen therapy, while 29 were on normal respiratory support.
"Of these, 24 died in the hospital in the last 24 hours," he said.
The minister claimed that according to the hospital data, of the 24 Covid deaths, as many as 14 died since between 7 am and midnight on Sunday. Between 12 midnight and 3 am on Monday, three persons died, while seven patients succumbed to Covid related complications between 3 am and 7 am.
"The three persons who succumbed between 12 midnight and 3 am died due to fluctuating oxygen supply, while the remaining 21 died due to Covid related complications," he said, adding that this would be in report the hospital would submit to the committee which will probe the matter.
The Health Minister asserted that even a single death due to lack of oxygen is a "matter of grave concern" from the government's point of view.
"We take even a small lacuna very seriously. The probe has been ordered not to know how many deaths occurred due to short supply of oxygen, but to know the exact reason… why there is short supply of oxygen in these districts," he said.
Suresh Kumar told reporters that the government is serious about rectifying its supply chain in order to avoid any such tragedies in the future.
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