Following reports about shortage of ventilators in Delhi government-run hospitals, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today pulled up Health Minister Satyendar Jain who in turn sought to shift the blame onto Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, accusing the Health Secretary appointed by him of not reaching the hospital to deal with a case of medical negligence citing unavailability of car. A peeved Kejriwal reacted on Twitter following media reports claiming Ambu-bags (manual hand-held devices which support breathing) being used to resuscitate patients due to an “acute shortage” of ventilators at hospitals. “Satinder, this is unacceptable (sic),” he tweeted.
Later, Jain wrote on twitter that, “There is a death in LNH due to negligence.I requested Sec health to reach Hospital with me. He refused to come saying unavailability of car”.
According to sources in the Delhi government’s Health Department, Jain had received an information about a patient, having died yesterday in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital as he was allegedly unable to get ventilator support, and was going to the hospital to check the ground reality.
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He had also called the Health Secretary to come with him but the secretary refused saying his car was not available, they said.
Jain blamed the LG saying that he has appointed the “most incompetent” IAS officer as the health secretary.
“Shameful. LG has appointed the most incompetent, useless n insensitive IAS officer as health secy,” Jain tweeted.
However, the secretary later reached the spot, sources said.
The medical superintendent of LNJP Hospital, Dr J C Passey said the patient was a 35-year-old man hailing from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and had undergone an operation on December 6 after he suffered a brain hemorrhage.
The patient, according to Passey, was doing well after the operation but his condition deteriorated yesterday and he was put on ambu-bags due to unavailability of ventilators and died in the afternoon.
The Federation of Resident Doctor’s Association of Delhi (FORDA) claimed that they had raised the issue of shortage of critical care facilities, including ventilators, several times with the Delhi government but nothing was done.
FORDA president Dr Pankaj Solanki said, “Health Minister Satyendar Jain has been told about this many times.”
He mentioned that in June 2015, after resident doctors went on a strike demanding better facilities, Jain had sought three months’ time to provide ventilators, consumables and drugs but claimed no action was taken.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Delhi Medical Council have also condemned the shortage of critical care facilities in hospitals and demanded immediate steps be taken to improve the situation.
Ambu-bag is a manual, handheld resuscitation device, which attendants are asked to keep pressing 16 to 18 times per minute to move air into and out of lungs of patients who cannot breathe on their own.