At a time when the state of Maharashtra is reeling under the twin challenges of increasing COVID cases and shortage of Medical Oxygen, at least 22 Covid-19 patients who were on ventilator support died after an abrupt drop in the oxygen pressure due to a leakage in the oxygen supplies, officials said.
The tragic incident occurred at Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital run by Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC).
Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital is run by the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled NMC, which is among the biggest civic bodies and one of the worst Covid-19 hotspots in the state.
The 22 patients gasped for breath and succumbed on their ventilator beds following certain technical issues which caused a variation in the pressure of the oxygen being administered in the ward.
At least 150 patients were undergoing treatment on oxygen beds and another two dozen on ventilator beds when the tragedy struck.
“It’s a very serious incident coming due to a drop in pressure of the oxygen being administered to the patients,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.
NMC Municipal Commissioner Kailash Jadhav termed it as “a very sad tragedy” and ordered a probe into the incident and assured action against all found guilty of lapses even as horrified relatives slammed the civic authorities.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that he was stunned to learn of the Nashik hospital tragedy and expressed his condolences to the kin of the victims.
Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ally Shiv Sena Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray expressed sorrow over the tragedy and assured that the incident would be probed.
Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP’s) Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar condoled the tragedy and assured a high-level investigation.
Congress State Spokesperson Sachin Sawant demanded a thorough inquiry into the tragedy and punishing all those found guilty.
“The hospital is managed by NMC which is under the BJP-rule. BJP must take responsibility. Where are the BJP Mayor and 3 BJP MLAs absconding?” asked a furious Sawant.
Tope, his cabinet colleague Chhagan Bhujbal and other senior political leaders have rushed to Nashik for a spot assessment of the situation.
BJP’s Leader of Opposition (Council) Pravin Darekar attacked the MVA government and demanded lodging of cases under culpable homicide against the NMC Commissioner Jadhav, accusing him of being ‘solely responsible’ for the incident.
The Nashik Police have tightened security in and around the hospital premises to prevent any untoward situation and to control the outrage among the bereaved relatives and an uproar building up after the incident.
(With IANS inputs)