Death due to oxygen supply disruption?

An inquiry is underway at the Maharaja Yeshwantrao hospital in Indore where 17 deaths were reported in 24 hours on June 22. The Times of India reported that some of these deaths could have been due to a disruption of oxygen supply at the hospital. The newspaper said that highly placed sources in the hospital confirmed that there was “disruption” in oxygen supply around 3am. However, the oxygen plant records were missing and the staff manning the system were unavailable to verify that such a disruption occurred. also reported that the son of one of the deceased patients claimed that he overheard hospital staff talking about “disruption in oxygen supply”.

Responding to the news reports at a press conference, Indore divisional commissioner Sanjay Dubey said that the deaths occurred as part of the normal course of functioning at a hospital. He ruled out the possibility that the deaths were caused by lack of oxygen or “any other negligence”.

Further investigation by the Times of India indicates that four patients on respiratory support in the ICU died within 20 minutes of each other and that documents seem to suggest that the four deaths may be directly connected to the oxygen supply. Hospital authorities have set up two inquiry committees to examine the oxygen supply system and also the causes and circumstances of all deaths in the hospital which occurred in the last few days.

Screening babies for metabolism errors

Tamil Nadu will soon screen new-born babies to check for inborn errors of metabolism. Inborn errors of metabolism are rare genetic disorders due to which the body cannot properly turn food into energy. They are caused by defects in enzymes that help metabolise food. Some inborn errors of metabolism are fructose intolerance, galactosemia and phenylketonuria.

The Tamil Nadu programme will the the first of its kind in any state in India. The programme will be implemented on a pilot basis at Vellore. Blood samples will be collected from infants within 72 hours of birth and be sent for testing. Based on the preliminary test results, a comprehensive tests will be done if required.

At present, there is no consolidated data on inborn metabolism disorders burden in the country. Screening and early intervention can help increase quality of life of children with such conditions and prevent death. The union health ministry has released funds for the programme.

Blood adulteration racket in Telangana

A Special operation Team in Rachakonda in Telangana raided a blood bank to find blood diluted with saline, according to a report in the New Indian Express. The team conducted the raid after relatives of an accident victim were asked to procure blood, which they did for Rs 3,000 per unit from Venus Blood Bank. When doctors checked the blood before transfusion, they found that it was mixed with normal saline, the Rachakonda police said.

The Special Operations Teams seized five packets of white blood cells, seven bottles of saline, records and registers from the blood bank. Three people associated with running the blood bank have been detained. The police has registered cases of cheating, attempt to commit culpable homicide, and negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life and an investigation is underway.

Yemen’s cholera crisis

Yemen is now facing the worst cholera outbreak in the world, international health authorities said in a statement on Saturday. The World Health organisation said that more than 1,300 people have died of cholera and a quarter of the victims are children. The death toll in the war-torn country is only expected to rise.

The WHO suspects that Yemen now has upwards of 2,00,000 cholera cases with roughly 5,000 new cases being reported every day. The cholera epidemic has also expanded geographically to almost the entire country, said aid organisations working in the area.