The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday constituted a panel for an inquiry into the deaths of five persons in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital in Kanpur. The panel compromises of doctors from King George’s Medical University and Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, and an engineer from the state power department. The victims family members had alleged that AC plant failure was the reason for their deaths while the hospital management denied this and said the patients died of medical related issues.
The hospital is a part of Kanpur’s Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College. Navneet Kumar, Principal, Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College had denied the charge and said that patients died of serious illness. Speaking to The Indian Express, Kumar said, “The ICU in the Medicine Department has 17 beds. Three persons died between 8 am Thursday and 8 am the next day. They died due to medical reasons — one suffered septicemia complications, two others had suffered a brain stroke. Equipment like ventilators, monitors and gas pipes were all working fine.”
Kumar also admitted that staff had complained of the ICU’s faulty air conditioner in the last few days. “It took some time to fix it as the parts were not available. It is fully functional now. This happened earlier too and it was brought to the attention of the hospital authorities. The agency, which was given the contract to maintain the air-conditioning had repaired it. But, lately, it developed problems again. The district administration had arranged for two tower air-conditioners late Thursday night,” he said.
On getting the news about the tragedy, a team of senior district officials including District Magistrate (DM) and Additional District Magistrate (ADM) rushed to the spot. “While two patients were around 75-years-old, one was around 65 and another was 56. The AC system was not functioning properly for the past two-three days and hospital administration has informed that they had contacted the maintenance agency. They claimed that none of the life-saving equipment was affected. Only technical experts can inform whether this had any effect on the patients or not,” Satish Pal, Additional District Magistrate, Kanpur said.
In 2017, more than 60 children mostly infants died due to a shortage of oxygen at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College. However, the state government had denied the allegations.