District authorities in Agra have launched an investigation after an old video of the proprietor of a private hospital admitting to having snapped the oxygen supply to critical patients, both in the Covid and non-Covid wards on the 26th of April went viral on social media on May 7.
In the video tweeted by Livehindustan on May 7, the owner of Paras Hospital Dr Arinjay Jain is heard telling some people that he has asked the hospital authorities to conduct an experiment or a “mock drill” to ascertain which patient is in actual need of oxygen, since there is an acute shortage of oxygen and the patients’ family members are not ready to discharge their patients despite multiple requests.
“I decided to perform an experiment/mock drill since we were experiencing a severe oxygen shortage and Modinagar had run out of it. People were refusing to release their patients despite repeated requests. So on April 26, at 7 am, we cut off the oxygen supply for five minutes.
Soon after, 22 patients’ bodies turned blue and they began gasping for air, indicating that they would not live if oxygen was not available. Then we ask the remaining 74 patients’ families to arrange their own oxygen cylinders”, Arinjay Jain, owner of Paras Hospital, who is not visible in the purported video can be heard saying.
When asked, the chief medical officer of the Agra district, Dr RC Pandey, said that they have taken cognisance of the video and a committee has been constituted to investigate the issue.
Speaking about the incident that transpired on April 26 in the Paras Hospital in Agra, District magistrate Prabhu N Singh denied that 22 patients died that day. He said that on April 26 and 27, seven patients died in Paras Hospital. “There was an oxygen shortage on these days, but it was augmented by diverting supply from Mathura refinery,” Singh said.
He was further quoted by ANI as saying: “There were 22 critical patients admitted in the hospital but have no details of their death. We’ll look into the video surfaced about their death”.
Agra: Seven patients including COVID infected died in a private hospital due to alleged oxygen shortage on April 26&27— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 8, 2021
There were 22 critical patients admitted in the hospital but have no details of their death. We’ll look into the video surfaced about their death:Agra DM(07.06) pic.twitter.com/9shp2OYFWr
UP Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh also confirmed receiving the complaint that there were issues with providing oxygen at Paras Hospital. “Inquiry is underway, will let you know once the investigation is completed”, said the state health minister.
Have received complaint that there were issues with providing oxygen at Paras Hospital. Inquiry is underway, will let you know once investigation is completed: UP Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh on COVID patients’ death in Agra due to alleged oxygen shortage pic.twitter.com/9jdE1B2Cuf— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 8, 2021
Multiple complaints against Paras Hospital
The state health minister confirmed that they had received various complaints against the same hospital when the country was grappling with the first wave of the covid-19 outbreak last year. Then the state administration had sealed the hospital in question for quite a few months, he added. Jai Pratap Singh also added that the state administration would look into the video and take necessary action against the hospital if the video is confirmed to be genuine.
Meanwhile, after the video went viral, Jain defended himself by claiming that his remarks had been taken out of context. “We were trying to identify the critical patients so that we could give them better treatment. He told TOI that four Covid-19 patients died on April 26 and three on April 27. He said he “did not have the exact data” when asked if 22 patients died in the hospital owing to the mock drill.