NASHIK (MAHARASHTRA): 22 COVID patients, eleven men and an equal number of women who were on ventilator support died after an oxygen tank leak disrupted the supply at a municipal hospital in Maharashtra's Nashik on Wednesday.
"The government will probe if the tragedy at the Dr Zakir Husain Hospital was due to negligence, said Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope. Tope also declared financial assistance of Rs five lakh each for the family of the deceased which will be given from the CM relief fund.
Two oxygen tanks were set up at the hospital recently and the maintenance work was given to a private company.
Qouting an official, PTI reports that the incident occurred when oxygen was being filled in one of the tanks from a tanker, which disturbed the supply to the patients who were on ventilators as well as to those dependent on oxygen for breathing..Municipal commissioner Kailash Jadhav informed that the leakage has been stopped. The tank repaired and the oxygen supply is being normalised, he said. Jadhav added that no patient is in a serious condition now.
Soon after the incident, people rushed to the hospital hindering rescue operations. Police dispersed a crowd of onlookers and the entry at the hospital was restricted after the incident.
Relatives of the deceased reached the hospital soon after hearing of the incident and are demanding that stringent action be taken against those responsible for the tragedy.
Nashik police commissioner Deepak Pandey said people's emotions are intense, adding arrangements for adequate police deployment have been made. The area has been sealed, he added.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari expressed anguish over the tragedy.
A video of oxygen purportedly leaking from the storage plant went viral on social media in the morning.
Three days before the tragedy, the Union health ministry's COVID-19 data compiled between March 16 and April 15 from major cities showed Nashik the worst-hit city in the country in terms of cases per million residents.
(From PTI with edits)