INDIA. Mumbai: At least 22 COVID-19 patients died due to the asphyxiation, following an interruption in the supply of oxygen, because of the massive leakage from an oxygen storage plant, at the Nashik Municipal Corporation’s Dr. Zakir Hussain hospital located at Kathada, in Nashik in North Maharashtra, on Wednesday afternoon.
The mishap took place at about 12.30 pm when the oxygen leaked out of the storage plant, apparently due to the malfunctioning of the valves of the tanker, while the oxygen was being filled in. Resultantly the supply to the patients on ventilators as well as those on oxygen beds got interrupted, District Collector Suraj Mandhare said.
Due to the leakage, the oxygen supply was halted for nearly 30 minutes. Although the leakage was fixed with the help of the fire department soon, the condition of patients on oxygen support deteriorated and they lost the battle against the virus. According to preliminary information, 17 patients were on ventilators and 44 were attached to oxygen beds. In all 131 patients were admitted to the 170 bedded hospital. The municipal corporation immediately shifted the cylinders from the other facilities where oxygen demand was not high.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that leakage might have affected the supply of oxygen inside the hospital, adding that accountability will be fixed. “Due to the leakages in the valves of the tanker, there was massive oxygen leakage. This would have affected the supply inside the hospital. I am yet to gather more information”, he said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that “ I have no words to describe this unfortunate incident. Entire Maharashtra is sharing the grief of the bereaved families. The state is having the testing time. There is a shortage of medicines, beds, and oxygen, and now comes this mishap. Those responsible for this mishap will not be shared and inquiry will be conducted. However, the Opposition should not make capital out of such incidents”.
Nashik Municipal Commissioner Kailash Shinde said that the supply from the plant was halted after the leakage, adding that several patients are in critical condition and all possible steps are being taken by the doctors to save lives. The oxygen supply has been restored, he said.