Kin blame oxygen dearth for death of 7 in Vellore GH, officials deny charge

Controversy erupted over seven deaths, including 4 in the COVID ward, of the Vellore Government Medical College Hospital on Monday.
Kin blame oxygen dearth for death of 7 in Vellore GH, officials deny charge
Water being sprayed on the oxygen facility at the hospital

Vellore

The deceased, all of whom succumbed in the COVID ward, were identified as Rajeswari (68) of Arcot town, Selvaraj (66) of Jolorpet, Leeelavathi (66) of Katpadi and Venkatesan of Virudampattu near Katpadi. Three other victims in the general ward were Rajendran (86), Prem (40) and Kabali (37). 
Victims’ relatives unanimously claimed that the deaths were due to lack of oxygen from the plant within the hospital premises. “The patients complained of breathlessness due to lack of oxygen. Before remedial actions could be taken, they succumbed,” said a relative, on the condition of anonymity. 
Another relative said, “When we informed the hospital, officials said that they were helpless as they lacked the manpower and did not know what to do.” 
One of the healthcare workers on the premises said, “The patient was alright 30 minutes before he died. When we said that he was becoming breathless, doctors said they could do nothing as they lacked staff.” 
People claimed that the oxygen plant was frozen and workers were seen spraying water to melt the ice while another tanker was seen loading the oxygen silo on the premises. Hospital authorities refused to attend calls or talk to media persons. Collector A Shanmuga Sundram, who visited the facility around 7 pm, told the media that the deaths were not due to lack of oxygen. “Though the oxygen plant in the hospital was under maintenance, alternate arrangements were made,” he said adding that a total of 121 patients in the hospital were being provided with oxygen supply.

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