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District judge visits hospital for preliminary probe
District sessions judge Sadashiva S. Sultanpuri visited Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) in the district on Tuesday to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the death of 24 COVID patients who were on ventilator support due to alleged interruption of medical oxygen supply in the wee hours of Monday
Chamarajanagar: District sessions judge Sadashiva S. Sultanpuri visited Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) in the district on Tuesday to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the death of 24 COVID patients who were on ventilator support due to alleged interruption of medical oxygen supply in the wee hours of Monday. According to the sources in the district administration, the judge also had a meeting with Chamarajanagar District Commissioner MR Ravi and reviewed the situation at the hospital premises before Health Minister Dr K. Sudhakar arrived at the hospital.
"Families of the victims told the judge that the deaths had occurred because of a shortage of medical oxygen. But the State government claimed only three of the deaths occurred due to this reason," sources added.
The report of Deputy Commissioner Dr M R Ravi confirmed the death of 24 patients at the district hospital, which has been designated as a Covid-19 treatment facility, between Sunday and Monday morning. Ravi admitted that the district had a shortage of oxygen supplies, but claimed that not all the deaths were caused by oxygen shortage. "A total of 23 died in the district hospital and one person died at a private facility. It cannot be said that all patients died due to lack of oxygen, he said.
It was reported that the newly installed 6-kilolitre liquid oxygen storage tank at the over 125-bed district hospital started to run empty around 2 pm on Sunday. The hospital authorities stared to supply nominal amounts of oxygen to patients, even as efforts were made to source cylinders from the neighbouring Mysuru district. Officials on Monday released a statement that the liquid medical oxygen facility at the hospital was working until Sunday afternoon. "Afterwards, oxygen cylinders were being used. In the night an alert was sounded about shortage of cylinders and efforts were made to arrange for the supply of more cylinders from Mysuru. Officials in Mysuru district said 250 cylinders were despatched to Chamarajanagar on Sunday night after an SOS was received.
Congress demands probe
The opposition Congress on Tuesday demanded a probe into the incident by a committee headed by a district court judge to bring out the truth of the alleged mismanagement of the administration and government. "I demand a judicial probe headed by a district judge, an inquiry by an IAS officer will not bring out the truth. The Chief Minister and Health Minister must take full responsibility. Officers responsible must be suspended and Rs 25 lakh compensation should be given to the kin of each victim," opposition leader in the State Assembly and former chief minister Siddaramaiah said.
The Karnataka government has ordered a probe into the matter and appointed senior IAS officer Shivayogi Kalasad as the inquiry officer.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee(KPCC) working president Ramalinga Reddy has filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission, demanding that a case be registered regarding the incident.