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5 die in Kanpur hospital ICU; kin allege AC failure

Five elderly patients died in the ICU of a state-run hospital here during the last two days, with their attendants alleging that AC plant failure was the reason for their deaths, a charge denied by hospital authorities.

The incident brought back memories of the Gorakhpur hospital deaths last year allegedly due to shortage of oxygen.

While the attendants of patients alleged that the AC plant in the ICU of Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital was not working for the past several days leading to their deaths, the principal of the Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Medical College, under which the hospital functions, said the patients died due to serious illness and not because of any AC failure.

“There were problems in the AC plant yesterday. The problems were fixed, but they again cropped up,” Principal Navneet Kumar admitted but emphatically denied the charge that the patients died due to air conditioning problem.

“The ICU has serious patients but none died due to AC failure,” he told reporters here.

He said technicians have been asked to rectify the problem in the AC plant at the earliest and a probe has been instituted into the matter.

The deceased patients were identified as Indrapal (75) of Nurwal, Ganga Prasad Yadav (75) of Budhi-Khera Unnao, Rasool Baksh (62) of Sandeela Hardoi, Murari Lal (65) of Azamgarh and another person whose identity could not be established immediately.

Accepting that there were certain air conditioning problems, ICU in-charge Saurav Agarwal said the AC plant of the medicine department’s ICU had shut down just two days back.

“Superintending in-charge of LLR Hospital, chief medical superintendent, power department officials and the agency concerned were informed and the problem was rectified. But the compressor again got burnt yesterday,” Agrawal said.

“Although it was hot inside, life-saving machines like ventilators and monitors were not affected and were working properly. Only the AC became defective,” he said.

An attendant of a patient told PTI that the LLR Hospital staff tried to provide relief to patients by opening windows and doors of the ICU, but it could not be of much help due to the blazing summer.

He said attendants had to use hand fans to bring some respite to restless patients.

On getting the news about the deaths, senior officials including district magistrate and additional district magistrate (ADM) rushed to the hospital for making on-the-spot assessment.

Last year several deaths took place in a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur allegedly due to shortage of oxygen.

More than 60 children, mostly infants, had died at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College there within the span of a week in August 2017, triggering a massive outrage.

There were allegations that the deaths occurred due to disruption in oxygen supply over unpaid bills to the vendor, a charge denied by the state government.

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