Chamarajanagar District Hospital tragedy: Oxygen fulfilled; but shortage of beds now
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Chamarajanagar District Hospital tragedy: Oxygen fulfilled; but shortage of beds now

May 5, 2021
  • 26-year-old youth dies after denied bed; relatives allege mismanagement 
  • Karnataka HC takes suo moto note of 24 deaths;  favours judicial probe

Chamarajanagar:  A 26-year-old virus-infected youth died at the Chamarajanagar District COVID Hospital yesterday as he was denied a bed. The incident comes just two days after 24 people died in this particular hospital due to oxygen shortage and reflects sheer mismanagement of the Hospital affairs. 

As soon as reports about the deaths went viral, the authorities and the Government woke up from slumber and arranged oxygen supplies to the Hospital. The youth’s family members alleged that despite repeatedly pleading with the Hospital staff, the youth was not admitted and he breathed his last as he was denied admission. 

Following the incident, the relatives staged a protest outside the Hospital and sought explanation from the doctors and the District Administration. The Police were called and the situation was brought under control. 

The relatives said that despite the high-profile visits of Health and Medical Education Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar, District Minister S. Suresh Kumar and a host of Opposition leaders including former CM Siddharamaiah and State Congress President D.K. Shivakumar, things have not improved at the Hospital. 

Judicial probe

Meanwhile, The Karnataka High Court indicated that it is inclined to appointing a retired HC Judge to hold an inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act into the death of 24 patients at the Chamarajanagar District Hospital due to lack of oxygen. 

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar said, “Considering the seriousness of the issue, prima facie, we are of the view that this is a fit case to hold an inquiry by appointing a retired judge of the HC.”

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“The Chamarajanagar incident is a serious issue. Around 24 people died. We suggest that there should a judicial inquiry into the incident by a Retired Judge of the High Court,” the Bench observed. At this juncture, Advocate General Prabhuling Navadagi informed the Bench that senior IAS officer — Shivayogi Kalasad — had already gone to Chamarajanagar to find out more about the incident. He added that the civil servant’s report would be produced before the Court.

“The State will not hesitate to punish those who are responsible. The State wants to find out the persons responsible for the lapse (of oxygen). If there was any lapse, we don’t want to repeat it. We have no problem with the judicial inquiry,”  Navadagi said.

As the hearing progressed, the Court also questioned the State on the mechanism by which it was supplying oxygen to various hospitals in the State. The State Government was directed to place on record data on the same. The Court is hearing the matter today too. 

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