A parliamentary committee has recommended the Union Health Ministry for the “audit of deaths due to oxygen shortage”, especially during the Covid second wave, in coordination with states to enable robust documentation of the mortalities.
“The Committee in its 123rd Report had warned the Government of the possible shortage of the Oxygen Cylinders and supply of Oxygen in the hospitals. The Committee is disappointed to note that the Ministry in its submission in 2020 had assured that the country is self sufficient in Oxygen and Oxygen Cylinders; however, their hollow claim was brutally exposed during the second wave,” said the panel.
The panel further said that the Committee is “disturbed” by the ministry’s “unfortunate” denial of the Covid deaths due to Oxygen shortage in the country.
The Committee takes into account the media reports that there were many deaths due to Oxygen shortage in the hospitals. However, the sheer negligence of the fact shows the absence of empathy in the Government parlance, the parliamentary panel alleged.
The Committee notes that there were no definite guidelines for identifying the deaths due to inadequate supply of oxygen. Oxygen shortage is not noted as a cause of death in the medical records and most of the deaths were attributed to co-morbidities, it added further.
“The Committee is disappointed at this utter ignorance by the Government and strongly recommends the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to examine the number of deaths due to oxygen shortage especially during the second wave of Covid. The Ministry, in coordination with the States, must audit the deaths due to oxygen shortage and enable robust documentation of the covid deaths that will infact generate the responsive and responsible sense of government and cautious formulation of policy and combat situational health care emergency,” said the Parliamentary panel.
The Committee further expects more transparency and more accountability from the Government agencies.
The Ministry must meticulously examine the oxygen stricken Covid deaths and ensure that proper compensation is accorded to the families of the victims, the panel has said in the report.