A private hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, whose owner was allegedly caught on audio bragging about how they shut off oxygen supply on April 27 for five minutes in a “mock drill” amid the Covid crisis, has been cleared of allegations that the exercise led to the deaths of 16 patients.
The UP government had ordered an inquiry into the incident at Agra’s Shree Paras Hospital after outrage.
A committee of investigators in its report said none of the 16 deaths at the hospital was due to the mock drill. It said all the patients died because they were already critical or had severe comorbidities.
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 adequate for the patients admitted there. It was also found during the inquiry that attendants of some patients had reached the hospital with oxygen arranged from alternative sources,” the committee said.
Agra District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh on June 8 said there was no death due to lack of oxygen on the day the alleged video was recorded. However, he ordered a case to be filed against the hospital under the Epidemic Diseases Act and sealed the facility.
After the audio clip was widely circulated, the hospital owner, Arinjay Jain, indicated that his statements were misinterpreted. “We too had received instructions from the administration for judicious and rational use of oxygen. In the third week of April, we categorised our patients into those who were on high flow and those on low flow (of oxygen),” Mr Jain said on June 8.