The administration in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas city on Thursday dismissed a social media post claiming that four coronavirus patients had died due to the lack of oxygen supply earlier this week, Hindustan Times reported. The district administration had, however, launched an inquiry after the post.
MP Sharma, Dewas district’s chief medical and health officer, said in a statement that a team, including him, had inspected the hospital where the deaths took place on September 8. “The team found that there was availability of 400 oxygen cylinders in the hospital and there was enough oxygen for 156 patients admitted,” he said.
The official acknowledged the deaths but claimed that the four people had tested negative for the coronavirus. “There were deaths of four patients in the hospital on September 8 – Shantabai, 65, Ashok Nanuram Kumawat, 42, Jubobai, 74, and Anandrao, 52,” he said. “They died due to different diseases and all these four patients had tested negative for coronavirus.”
The deaths took place at the Amaltas Institute of Medical Sciences, a private hospital which has been marked as a coronavirus care centre, according to NDTV. Sharma told the news channel that there had been a problem in loading the vehicle carrying oxygen in Bhopal, which is about 160 kilometres away from Dewas.
Madhya Pradesh gets its additional oxygen supply from Maharashtra, which is the worst coronavirus-affected state in India. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan had said on Thursday that the supply of oxygen had been halted and that he was speaking to his Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray to restore it, PTI reported.
“The shortage of oxygen was worrying me a lot,” he had said. “I spoke to Uddhav Thackeray and requested him not to stop the supply at this difficult time.” Chouhan added that Thackeray had assured him that Maharashtra will try to maintain the supply to Madhya Pradesh.
Chouhan also said that his government had made alternate arrangements for oxygen supply. “Earlier, Madhya Pradesh had oxygen production installed capacity of 50 tonnes, which has now been increased to 120 tonnes,” he said. “We will take it to 150 tonnes by September 30.”
The Madhya Pradesh chief minister said that a firm called INOX, which used to supply oxygen to the state from Nagpur, will now continue to meet the demand from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
Madhya Pradesh has reported over 81,000 coronavirus cases and 1,661 deaths so far, according to data from the Union health ministry.