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BHU Hospital Used Industrial Gas For Anesthesia, Reveals Probe

The hospital is attached to the Benaras Hindu University, which has had its fair share of controversies in the recent past. The gas used by the hospital staff is neither medically suitable nor is its usage permissible.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | @qazifarazahmad

Updated:October 5, 2017, 5:57 PM IST
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BHU Hospital Used Industrial Gas For Anesthesia, Reveals Probe
A file image of Sundarlal Hospital, Benaras. (courtesy: Hospital website)
Lucknow: A Centre and UP government-led investigation into the unusual number of deaths in the surgery ward of Sundarlal Hospital, Benaras, revealed that industrial-grade gas was administered to patients undergoing surgery instead of anesthesia.

The hospital is attached to the Benaras Hindu University, which has had its fair share of controversies in the recent past. The gas used by the hospital staff is neither medically suitable nor is its usage permissible.

The Allahabad High Court had ordered an investigation after 18 patients passed away between June 6 to June 8, 2017.

“It has been found that nitrous oxide of non-pharmacopoeial grade was being used at this hospital. This gas doesn’t come under the category of allowed drugs,” said the UP Food Safety and Drug Administration’s probe report dated July 18, a copy of the report is with News18.

However, the officials said that they are still probing whether the use of industrial gas was directly responsible for the deaths in the hospital or not.

Nitrous Oxide is a colorless gas and induces rapid but rather shallow anesthesia. Nitrous Oxide can induce unconsciousness at concentrations as low as 35%. However, when inhaled in its pure form, it is an asphyxiating gas.

As per the probe, an Allahabad-based private firm, Parerhat Industrial Enterprise, which was supplying nitrous oxide, did not have any licence to produce or sell any medical gas. An FIR was filed in this regard at the Lanka Police station on June 14 this year for alleged medical negligence after a complaint by the family of a deceased and Allahabad resident, Mehraj Ahmad. Head of anesthesia wing, Dr. P Ranjan, along with three more doctors, was named in the FIR.

The director of the firm Parerhat is the father of BJP legislator from North Allahabad, Harshwardhan Vajpayee. Vajpayee’s firm has shares amounting to Rs 1.21 crore and is a part of Parerhat Group of Industries, operated by his family. The other businesses of the group include chemicals, steels, paper mills and solar power.

“This unit of Parerhat at 42, Industrial Colony, Chak Dawood Nagar, Naini, Allahabad has been issued no license by the food safety department of UP government to manufacture or produce any medical gas. Therefore the firm has neither license to produce medical nitrogen oxide nor oxygen,” says an RTI reply by K G Gupta, assistant drug inspector, Allahabad, which is part of the report.

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