Tying up the deaths of two COVID-19 patients at the Government Medical College Hospital in Tiruppur with the power disruption at the the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), kin of the deceased alleged that the incident occurred due to negligence. Hospital administrators denied the charge.

Power supply was reportedly interrupted for about 40 minutes as a result of a wire being cut by mistake during construction work at the medical college on Tuesday.

The hospital administration claimed the power cut was not the reason for the deaths, and the patients were in a critical condition since Monday night.

Tiruppur Collector K. Vijayakarthikeyan said the power interruption occurred around 11 a.m. on Tuesday after a wire was cut during construction work, involving heavy vehicles and an earthmover.

Power supply was restored after 40 minutes but two COVID-19 patients who were in the ICU died in the meantime, he told journalists.

The dean of the hospital, Valli Sathyamoorthy, said the two patients died of severe conditions of COVID-19, and the power cut had nothing to do with their deaths. According to her, the oxygen saturation levels of both patients were very low and the same was informed to the District Collector on Monday night.

Mr. Vijayakarthikeyan inspected the hospital and directed a tahsildar to conduct an inquiry. A notice has been served on the contractor, who is carrying out the construction work, based on the Collector’s direction.

“None of the 147 oxygen lines in the hospital were interrupted as they had power backup. The condition of the two patients who died at the time of the power cut deteriorated as per the report sent by the dean last night. Twenty other patients in the ICU are stable,” he said.

According to him, as in the case of any death reported during the pandemic, the two will also be audited carefully. He said the tahsildar was directed to investigate the incident and submit a report, based on which further action would be taken. The report is expected by Wednesday, he added.

The Tiruppur district CPI(M) said legal action should be taken against those who acted irresponsibly and ₹25 lakh compensation should be paid to the family of the two patients. Demolition of old buildings at the Tiruppur government hospital should be stopped till the spread of COVID-19 is contained, it added.

TTV expresses shock

Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran expressed shock over the deaths.

Terming it unacceptable, in a series of tweets, he wanted the Chief Minister to take action against those responsible for the deaths of the patients, which, according to him, happened due to “negligence” of the hospital administration. The Health Department should issue necesary guidelines to all the government hospitals to ensure that such incidents don’t recur.

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