Tirupati: Eleven patients died on Monday evening due to disruption in oxygen supply at the state-run Sri Venkateswara Ramnarain Ruia Hospital (SVRR) at Tirupati in Chittoor district. Meanwhile, the relatives of the victims are claiming that the officials are hiding the number of deaths and that over 30 people may have died in the incident.
Angry attendants of the deceased went on a rampage soon after the deaths, vandalizing the hospital and forcing doctors and nursing staff to run for safety. Senior district officials rushed to the hospital to bring the situation under control.
Chittoor district collector M. Harinarayanan said there was a disruption in the supply of oxygen for about five-10 minutes due to a delay in the arrival of an oxygen tanker from Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu to the SVRR hospital. The oxygen supply was restored minutes after the arrival of the tanker. But by that time, 11 COVID-19 patients in ICU died of asphyxiation.
The hospital authorities said around 1,000 patients are undergoing treatment at SVRR and the disruption of oxygen supply led to severe respiratory distress among some patients. The doctors could save the lives of some patients by cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and also by pressing oxygen compressors into service.
CPI leaders and activists led by K. Narayana said the victims were murdered by the government and claimed 30 people had died in the incident. The CPI leader demanded criminal cases against those responsible for the deaths and also compensation for the families of the victims.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock and grief over the tragedy. He expressed condolences to the families of the victims. He has called for a comprehensive probe into the incident and directed state officials to ensure that such a situation did not recur in any of the hospitals in the state.
Also expressing shock over the incident, TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu demanded stringent action against the officials responsible for the tragic deaths. He also lashed out at the Jagan government, insisting that he did not show interest in ensuring sufficient infrastructure in the hospitals.