Over two months after saying that several Covid-19 patients died due to oxygen shortage at the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Health Minister Vishwajit Rane now told the Legislative Assembly that the facility did not face any paucity of the life-saving gas during the pandemic and hence there was no question of any fatality occurring due to it.
In his statement in the House, Rane said, “Not a single Covid patient died due to oxygen shortage at the GMCH.” He was replying to a question tabled on the floor of the House by Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat. In the written reply, the minister said, “At no point in time, the oxygen supplies at GMCH ran out of stock and thus, no death has been reported to have (been) caused due to non-supply of oxygen.”
His statement was contrary to his own remarks made on May 11, in which he had said that 26 persons died within 24 hours at the GMCH due to oxygen shortage. At that time, Rane had said that between 2 am and 6 am on May 11, these patients had lost their lives as the hospital did not get adequate supply of oxygen. “On Monday (May 10), our requirement was about 1,200 cylinders, but we received 400 cylinders. The hospital has been facing a shortage of oxygen supply,” the health minister had said.
Chief minister Pramod Sawant, who had visited the Covid wards on May 11, had also hinted that there was oxygen shortage. But in the written replies to three questions on oxygen-related deaths, Rane not only outrightly denied there were any such deaths but went further and lauded the government.