Agra’s Paras Hospital did not conduct a ‘mock drill’ that led to the deaths of 22 people, a probe report into the alleged incident revealed on Friday.
As per the report, the hospital authorities informed the investigators that they had been misquoted and that the viral video had been misconstrued.
The hospital had been sealed and was under government scrutiny after a video went viral earlier this month in which its owner, Arinjay Jain, was heard narrating a story where “22 people turned blue and died" after a “mock drill".
The Uttar Pradesh government had then asked Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Virendra Bharti and Dr Sanjeev Verman to investigate the incident.
The probe found that as opposed to media reports that claimed that Sri Paras Hospital in Agra had conducted a ‘mock drill’ during which oxygen supply was switched off for five minutes, the hospital had merely conducted a risk assessment exercises to identify critically-ill patients who would need special help in case there was to be a shortage in the future.
“The hospital had enough oxygen stock, but a shortage in the future was a possibility which is why the hospital said that on April 26 at 7 am they conducted an oxygen weaning exercise on patients while following mandated medical procedure. Through this, 22 patients were in the highest-risk category," the report stated.
“22 patients did not die on April 26 at 7 am," it added.
The report, which is based on the findings of a four-member death audit committee and a two-member team comprising government officials, does, however, say that 16 patients had died in the hospital on the said day. But, almost all of them suffered from acute comorbidities like type 2 diabetes and bilateral pneumonitis.
The authorities had been in touch with the Indian Medical Association for the supply of more oxygen, as well, the report said. It added that 16 patients had died on the day, whose death audits had been conducted. The findings have been made public in the report.
Earlier too, government officials had trashed the reports of deaths.
Agra district magistrate Prabhu N Singh, who had ordered that Jain, the hospital’s owner, be booked for violating the Epidemic Diseases Act, creating false alarm under the Disaster Management Act, and disobeying official orders had said: “Shri Paras Hospital had enough oxygen and it is not true that 22 patients died there due to oxygen shortage. However, the video that is being circulated will be examined and the required action will be taken.”.
The controversy grabbed national headlines after the purported video, allegedly shot on April 28, went viral.
In it, Jain was heard saying, “We were told by the chief minister that there will be no supply of oxygen. Modi Nagar is dry. We began to tell families. Some listened, but others refused to leave. Let’s see after doing a mock drill, we will figure out who will die and who will survive. The mock drill took place at seven in the morning, no one knew about it. In five minutes 22 patients died. They began turning blue in five minutes."