UP: Paras Hospital sealed after viral video shows owner claiming he cut oxygen supply in mock drill
Agra: Uttar Pradesh Government has cancelled the license of Shri Paras Hospital, a prominent private hospital in Agra and has sealed the facility after a video of its owner went viral in which he is purportedly talking of "mock drill" and admitting that he had on April 26 got the oxygen supply of critical patients stopped for five minutes as an "experiment to know who all are going to survive".
At one point in the video, he said that 22 patients "turned blue" and gasped for breath when their oxygen supply was interrupted.
In no time the video took social media by storm resulting in the registration of a case against the owner of Paras Hospital, under the Epidemic Diseases Act and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, causing obstruction and injury).
In the viral video, the owner of Paras Hospital in Agra can be purportedly heard saying in the 1.5-minute clip from April 28, "During an acute shortage of oxygen... the hospital conducted a mock drill. We stopped the oxygen supply for five minutes around 7 am on April 26. Twenty-two patients started gasping for breath and their bodies began turning blue. Then there were remaining 74 patients and we asked their family members to bring their own oxygen cylinders."
However, Dr Arinjay Jain, the owner of Agra's Paras Hospital, who is at the centre of a controversy, said that news reports of 22 deaths are baseless and he is ready to cooperate with any investigation. He said the period relates to the wave of COVID-19 at its peak.
Dr Jain said the subject mentioned in the video is of April when the second wave of COVID-19 was at its peak.
"By mistake or innocence, I mentioned the word 'mock drill' in the video but there was no mock drill as such," he said.
"We conducted, call it clinical assessment or mock drill, to check how we can maintain a patient at a minimum level of oxygen in our effort to ensure its rationale use. During this exercise, bedside oxygen adjustment was made," he added.
Dr Jain said the oxygen supply was not snapped during this exercise.
"It enabled us to identify patients who needed high-flow oxygen so that we can make optional arrangements for them in case of acute oxygen shortage," he said.
"I am ready to cooperate in any investigation. Officials of the health department today visited the hospital and I gave them all information they needed. But unfortunately, my hospital has been sealed," he added.
Meanwhile, the District Magistrate of Agra Prabhu N Singh and the Uttar Pradesh Health Department has initiated a probe into the matter. The official told ANI that the video was of April which went viral on June 7.
Singh claimed that no patient died due to oxygen shortage at the hospital on April 28, the day the video was reportedly shot. "Oxygen was available at the hospital on April 28," he told ANI. "Agra is a small city. There would be an outcry if 22 patients die at a hospital."
However, he said, "We have filed a case against them under the Epidemic Diseases Act. The police will conduct an investigation. The hospital is being sealed. All 55 patients are being shifted out."
Earlier, in a statement, Singh had said, "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 the 26th and 27th of April. There is no truth that 22 people died but we will carry out an inquiry."
Meanwhile, Zee News reports that the hospital has now been completely evacuated, further the staff have been accused of beating relatives of patients.