The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a probe after a video of a private hospital owner went viral where he is heard bragging that he snapped the oxygen supply of patients for five minutes as an experiment to find out who all are going to survive. The video is of Agra-based Paras Hospital’s owner Dr Arinjay Jain.
In the video clip reportedly from April 28, Jain is heard saying, “We were told that even the chief minister cannot get oxygen, so start discharging patients. Modi Nagar is dry. We started counselling families. Some were willing to listen but the others said they would not leave.”
“I decided to conduct a mock drill as we were facing an acute shortage of oxygen as people were not ready to discharge their patients despite multiple requests. At 7 am on April 27, we snapped the oxygen supply for five minutes. Soon, 22 patients’ bodies turned blue and they started gasping for breath so we came to know that they won’t survive in case there is no oxygen. Then, we asked family members of the remaining 74 patients to arrange their own oxygen cylinders.”
What Uttar Pradesh authorities said
In a statement to the media, Agra district magistrate Prabhu N Singh claimed there was no death due to lack of oxygen on that day the alleged video was recorded. However, he said a probe would be conducted.
“Initially, there was some panic and shortage but we sorted all that out in 48 hours. In this hospital, there have been seven COVID deaths on April 26 and 27. The hospital also has a lot of other ICU beds. There is no truth that 22 people died but we will carry out an inquiry,” Singh said.
What hospital owner said
The hospital owner Dr Arinjay Jain refuted the allegations of snapping oxygen supply. He said that his statement was misinterpreted.
“We too had received instructions from the administration for judicious and rational use of oxygen. In the third week of April, we categorised our patients into those who were on high flow and those on low flow (of oxygen),” the medical practitioner said.
“We had to find out the oxygen dependency of the patients to understand how we can handle the situation if there is an oxygen shortage or if the supply gets over… Mock drill means taking stock of the situation before facing an issue, to understand how to work in emergency. We had categorised the patients…We categorised COVID patients to see which patient needs how much oxygen… Mock drill does not mean switching off a patient’s oxygen. We did not switch off oxygen. I did not clearly say so in the video. I said a mock drill was done at 7 am,” Jain said
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