Oxygen leak in Nashik hospital leads to 24 deaths

Published : April 22, 2021 15:21 IST

A worker welds a pipe to stop leakage of medical oxygen gas from a storage unit at Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in Nashik on April 21. Photo: PTI

As many as 24 COVID-19 patients died after oxygen supply was disrupted due to a leak in the main oxygen storage tank at the Dr Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in Nashik on April 21. The incident occurred when the hospital’s cylinders were being refuelled and the socket of the tank filling the cylinders broke. The sudden cutting off of oxygen led to the situation where critical COVID-19 patients dependent on oxygen could not breath leading to their deaths, said official reports.

The State government said 13 of the dead were over 60 years, the remaining between 33 and 60. Twelve of the dead were women. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced Rs.5 lakh compensation each to the kin of the victims and appealed to the citizenry and the opposition not to politicise the incident. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope announced a probe into the incident by a seven-member committee.

Due to the surge in cases in Maharashtra, the Dr Zakir Hussain hospital had become a dedicated COVID hospital recently. In March this year, a 13-kilolitre oxygen tank was installed by a private company on the premises. According to Nashik Municipal Commissioner Kailash Jadhav, the leak began around 12.30 p.m. and with the help of technicians on hand, they were able to restore proper oxygen supply by 2 p.m. Family members of patients obviously began to panic, leading to a pandemonium in the hospital. Many patients on oxygen were shifted to nearby hospitals. However, critically ill patients unfortunately did not make it, Jadhav told mediapersons.