The Death Audit Committee constituted to probe the Paras Hospital ‘mock drill’ case, has submitted its report, clearing the hospital from charges of cutting off oxygen supply leading to the death of 22 patients. It has, however, held the hospital accountable for misleading patients on grounds of lack of oxygen.
The report by the four-member committee confirmed that no evidence was found to prove that the oxygen supply was cut off on the said day leading to the death of 22 patients. It said that the information that circulated on social media, putting Uttar Pradesh’s Paras Hospital under scrutiny, was misleading.
#UPDATE | It’s not at all true that 22 patients died after oxygen supply was cut off for a mock drill. No one’s oxygen was cut off for a drill nor is there any proof of it. It’s a misleading information, or else 22 people would have died on April 26: Death Audit Committee https://t.co/vERcDlldpg— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 18, 2021
However, the committee, which consisted of three doctors from SN Medical College and an official from the Agra Medical Department, found that the hospital administration misled patients on grounds of lack of oxygen and discharged them. This is against the Epidemic Diseases Act protocols and the police have been instructed to take necessary action in this regard, read the Death Audit Committee report.
The investigating team, in their report, said that the claim, which did the rounds that Paras Hospital snapped the oxygen supply for its patients, was unfounded. Had it been the case then all the 22 patients would have died on the same day, which did not happen.
The committee said that the hospital owner in his statement clarified that he had said that during the mock drill 22 patients who were critical were segregated from the rest. This statement was misconstrued as 22 died in the mock drill, which is completely untrue.
“It is completely untrue that 22 patients died. No mock drill was conducted after cutting off oxygen supply. Nobody’s oxygen supply was cut off and there is no evidence of this. The rumour is misleading, otherwise there would have been 22 deaths at 7 am on April 26,” the committee said.
The report prepared by the four-member team said that they found that 16 deaths took place at the hospital concerned between April 15 and 25, and none died due to a shortage of oxygen but because of co-morbidities or some other health-related complications. The Committee attached the summary of the death audit report of all the 16 patients, who died in the hospital in the span of 10 days, to confirm the same.
“The death audit committee found during its probe that all patients had been treated as per Covid protocol and the details of their oxygen status and supply have been listed. It also found that the oxygen supply of any patient was not interrupted. Patients who died had comorbidities and (died) because of their critical condition. The hospital had been given adequate oxygen supply,” the report prepared by a 4-member committee stated.
According to the committee’s report, the investigating officer found that the hospital was given 149 oxygen cylinders with 20 in reserve on April 25 and 121 cylinders with 15 in reserve on April 26. This was found to be sufficient for the patients admitted there. The committee also found during the inquiry that attendants of some patients had reached the hospital with oxygen arranged from alternative sources.
The hospital had oxygen, but there were issues with future supply. Through the mock drill, a clinical assessment was conducted to ascertain which patient is in actual need of oxygen. The hospital monitored symptoms of hypoxia and oxygen saturation levels to assess how to function if oxygen supply is limited. A bedside analysis of every patient was conducted and found 22 of the admitted patients to be in very serious condition.
The committee report further said that the video of the owner of Paras Hospital Dr Arinjay Jain which circulated on social media did not have the full conversation. When the committee probed the audio they heard Dr Arinjay Jain desperately urging people to arrange for oxygen. He was heard saying “Paise lelo, Gaadi le lo, Bhopal-vopal jahan se mile le lo, jitne paise chahiye, kaise bache 96 zindagi, career bache, sone ka bhav laga lo, tanker uthao oxygen ka, kaise bhi milta hain”, roughly translated as (take the money, take the car, get it from Bhopal or from anywhere it is available, take it for whatever it costs, 96 lives need to be saved anyhow, my career is at stake, I am ready to buy at the rate of gold, procure tankers of oxygen or in any form its available).
The committee said it must be established that when was this tape-recorded and who all were present at that time. It also said that the full audio must be heard before drawing a conclusion. According to the report, the owner of the hospital has said that the particular conversation in question happened on April 28 at around 5-6 pm. He said that some of the statements in the audio were not made by him and also indicated that the audio was manipulated to sensationalise the issue.
It may be recalled that on June 9 in an interview to news agency ANI, Dr Arinjay Jain, the owner of the Paras Hospital, had also refuted all the allegations.
Reports had suggested that 22 patients had lost their lives due to a ‘mock drill’ conducted by the hospital to ascertain which patient is in actual need of oxygen. The hospital authorities, however, suggest that the news of deaths are baseless.
“There was mock drill. We conducted a clinical assessment to check how we can maintain a patient at minimum level of oxygen. News of 22 deaths are baseless,” informed Dr Arinjay Jain.
On June 8, Agra District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh had also said there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen on the day the alleged video was recorded.
However, in a video tweeted by Livehindustan on May 7, the owner of Paras Hospital could be heard telling some people that the drill was conducted because of an acute shortage of oxygen and the patients’ family members were not ready to discharge their patients despite multiple requests.
After the video went viral, the Uttar Pradesh government had not only given orders to seal the facility but also asked authorities to register an FIR against the hospital under the Epidemic Diseases Act.