UP’s health department has set up a probe after the owner of a prominent private hospital in Agra was caught on camera purportedly saying that on the morning of April 26 he got the oxygen supply of critical patients snapped for five minutes "as an experiment to know who all are going to survive". Twenty-two of the patients, both in the Covid and non-Covid wards, may not have made it out alive.
"There was an acute shortage of oxygen. Modinagar had run out of it. We were asking people to discharge (take away) their patients but no one was ready. So I decided to conduct an experiment… a mock drill of sorts. We snapped the oxygen supply for five minutes on April 26, at 7am. Twenty-two patients started gasping for breath and their bodies began turning blue. So we came to know that they will not survive in case there is no oxygen. Then, family members of the remaining 74 patients in the ICU wards were told to bring their own oxygen cylinders," Arinjay Jain, owner of Paras Hospital on NH 2, is heard saying in the video clip, which has now gone viral.
When contacted, chief medical officer of Agra district, Dr RC Pandey, said, "We have taken cognisance of the video. A committee has been constituted to investigate the matter." Jain, meanwhile, said that his statement has been "misconstrued". While not denying that it was him in the video, he said, "We had conducted a mock drill to identify critical patients and better serve them. Four Covid-19 patients died on April 26 and three on April 27." Asked if a total of 22 had died due to lack of oxygen, he said he "did not have the exact numbers".
District magistrate Prabhu N Singh said, "The hospital has a large ICU ward and other deaths may have occurred. The content of the video is being investigated in detail." A resident of Agra’s Jeevani Mandi area, Mayank Chawla’s grandfather had died on April 26 at the hospital. “It is shocking to see the owner of the hospital narrating the inhuman act of switching off oxygen supply to patients in critical condition."