15 more COVID-19 patients die at top Goa hospital due to oxygen drop, HC told

15 more COVID-19 patients died at Goa Medical College and Hospital, the state government told the Bombay High Court, two days after 26 coronavirus patients had succumbed at the same facility

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
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PTI

Fifteen more COVID-19 patients died at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in the early hours of Thursday, the state government told the Bombay High Court, two days after 26 coronavirus patients had succumbed at the same facility here.

The Goa bench of the HC said state authorities told it some of the casualties may have taken place due to "logistical issues" related to connecting oxygen cylinders to the manifold (group of large gas cylinders) that resulted in interruption and drop in pressure in supply lines of oxygen to patients.

The HC observed that despite its order on providing medical oxygen to COVID-19 patients at the GMCH, there were 15 deaths during the dark hours of 2 am and 6 am in the government-run facility on Thursday.

The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions on recent death of COVID-19 patients at the GMCH allegedly due to lack of medical oxygen.

The HC said the Centre should ensure that the allotted quota of medical oxygen is made available at the earliest to Goa, which is reporting a very high test positivity rate.

The bench, consisting of Justices Nitin W Sambre and M S Sonak, said despite their May 12 order, the court sadly recorded that even today (Thursday), it is reported that there were almost 40 COVID-19-related casualties in the GMCH."

Out of these, around 15 took place between the dark hours of 2 am and 6 am, the court observed.

On Wednesday, the HC had said the availability of medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients at the GMCH was grim, and asked the state government to take corrective steps.

From May 2, 2021 onwards, this is the position of casualties in the GMCH, the bench said referring to the deaths during the dark hours.

The Judges said out of these, several casualties have taken place between the dark hours of 2 am and 6 am.


Now today, again, we are assured by the learned Advocate General Davidas Pangam as well as the Health Secretary that there is no dearth as such of oxygen.

"They have pointed out that the Central Government has now increased the (medical oxygen) quota for Goa, having regard to the overwhelming number of COVID-19 victims in the state of Goa, the court said.

Advocate General Pangam and the health secretary have assured the court that they are continuously following up the matter with the Central government, the judges said.

On our query as to why the deaths have taken place last night, we were explained that there were logistical issues involved in maneuvering the tractor which carries the trolleys of oxygen and in connecting the cylinders to the manifold, the court ruled.

We were explained that during this process there was some interruption, which resulted in fall of pressure in the supply lines of oxygen to the patients.

"It was pointed out that it is basically on account of these factors some casualties may have taken place, it said.

The Judges said we are quite pained that such logistical issues should give rise to such serious consequences to the Covid victims."

The court asked the government to remove any deficiencies regarding supply of oxygen to patients.

"We expect the State Administration to find out ways and means to overcome these logistical issues, so that, precious life is not lost on account of any deficiencies in the matter of supply of oxygen to patients, the court ruled.

On May 11, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane had said 26 COVID-19 patients died at the GMCH in the early hours of Tuesday and sought an investigation by the HC to find out the exact cause.

He said these fatalities occurred between 2 am and 6 am 'which is a fact', but remained evasive about the cause.

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