Soon after the death of seven people in a single day at a hospital in Palghar district of Maharashtra, relatives alleged shortage of oxygen supply and administrative failure at the facility amid a massive spike in Covid-19 infections across the state.All those who succumbed to the virus were admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit. The deaths also indicate the burgeoning larger crisis gripping the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation under whose jurisdiction the Nala Sopara hospital falls. According to a report by NDTV, concerned hospital officials stated that the deceased were already in critical condition at the time of admission.
However, the relatives accompanying the patients who died on Monday said that the patients died due to a shortage of oxygen and doctors’ irresponsibility.
By Monday evening, a huge crowd gathered at the Vinayaka Hospital in NalaSopara which is around 60 kilometres north of Mumbai to vent its fury. Some of the people gathered said that if they had been informed about the situation earlier, they would have moved their family members to other medical facilities in Mumbai or other places.
Pinki Varma, the daughter of one of the victims, told the media that her father was recovering well and was scheduled to get discharged yesterday. “My father was corona-negative but was put in the Covid ward. Today, they called to inform us that there was an emergency. When we arrived, there was some crisis happening over oxygen and a huge crowd had gathered. From 3 pm to 5 pm, they made us wait without giving us any information,” she said.
Reportedly, the police later arrived at the hospital to calm tempers down and disperse the mob. Hospital authorities, however, said the patients didn’t make it because they had low immunity, were advanced in age, and had co-morbidities.
“Vinayaka Hospital is a tertiary care centre of Vasai-Virar municipality…We get patients who are transferred from smaller hospitals and their conditions are usually already critical when they arrive here," Dr Shashi Kant of Vinayaka Hospital told NDTV. “Since we are a big hospital in the area, we don’t deny patients. Because if we refuse to admit them where will they go?” he added.
The Vasai-Virar municipality has allegedly been facing a shortage of oxygen cylinders over the past many days. Local MLA Kshitij Thakur tweeted, tagging the Prime Minister’s Office, highlighting the critical condition in Vasai Taluk. “Notably, the supply can run for only three hours. There are more than 7,000 active cases in the area and more than 3,000 people require oxygen supply daily," said Thakur of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi party.