A five-year-old girl on her way to a hospital died on Monday after the cylinder attached to the ventilator support system ran out of oxygen, PTI reported. The minor, diagnosed with severe pneumonia, was being shifted from Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur District Hospital to Jagdalpur Medical College Hospital in Bastar, around 160 kilometres away. The girl’s father accused the Bijapur hospital officials of negligence.

Bijapur Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr BR Pujari said Bulbul Kudiyam, a resident of Toynar village, was admitted to the district hospital after falling ill at her ashram school in Matwada village on August 22. After her condition worsened on Sunday, hospital authorities decided to shift her to Jagdalpur.

Doctors at the Jagdalpur hospital declared Kudiyam dead on arrival after the oxygen in the cylinder ran out near Tokapal village, said Pujari. “Generally it requires one oxygen cylinder to shift patients from Bijapur to Jagdalpur,” he said. “We will investigate how it got exhausted so quickly.”

No medical technician was travelling with the girl as the hospital’s emergency response ambulance was on duty, said Pujari. He claimed that health officials in Bijapur would have arranged for a cylinder from nearby ambulance services had the driver informed them.

However, the girl’s father, Chamru Kudiyam, said the driver’s request for a replacement cylinder was rejected by staff at a local government hospital. “The driver had tried to arrange for another cylinder from Tokapal hospital but the staff refused,” said the father. “There was no technician in the ambulance either.”

Chamru Kudiyam also claimed that school authorities did not provide his daughter with timely medical treatment.

Bijapur Collector KD Kunjam has ordered Pujari to investigate the cause of death and submit a report. School authorities have also been directed to explain the treatment provided to the child.