A mock drill involving cutting of oxygen results in the closing of a hospital in Agra

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Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

The extreme shortage of medicated oxygen in India resulted in deaths and horrors but as the second wave declines from its peak, a video from a hospital in Agra went viral for a bizzare reason. As part of a ‘mock drill’, a private hospital in Agra cut off oxygen for five minutes to nearly 100 patients in its ICU on April 26.

Shri Paras Hospital was locked and sealed by the Agra administration Wednesday, two days after a video of its owner talking about a “mock drill” where oxygen supply was shut off was shared widely.

From the audio of the clip, it appears that the ‘mock drill’ was conducted to see what would happen if the hospital ran out of oxygen. Jain, who is not seen in the video, does not mention if Paras Hospital was running low on oxygen. Several hospitals across the country reported an acute shortage of medical oxygen in April and May 2021, when the second wave of COVID 19 was at its peak in the country.

Jain can be heard saying in the video, that the hospital was told even the chief minister cannot get oxygen, so it should start discharging patients. “Modi Nagar is dry. We started counseling families. Some were willing to listen but the others said they would not leave. I said ok let’s do a mock drill. We will find out who will die and who will survive. So we did that at 7 am. A mock drill was done. No one knows. Then we identified 22 patients. We realised they would die. This was done for 5 minutes. They started turning blue,” he can purportedly be heard saying.

Authorities in Uttar Pradesh had ordered a probe into the incident, even as Agra’s district magistrate Prabhu N. Singh claimed there was no death due to lack of oxygen on the day the alleged video was recorded. Shri Paras Hospital was locked and sealed by the Agra administration Wednesday, two days after a video of its owner talking about a “mock drill” where oxygen supply was shut off was shared widely. Late Tuesday evening, the owner Dr Arinjay Jain was booked under Section 188 (disobedience of official order), 505 (intent to incite) and three sections of Disaster Management and Epidemic Acts. The doctor’s mention of 22 patients turning “blue” or lowering oxygen supply does not find mention in the FIR.

A team of Agra Health Department officials along with police vacated the hospital on Wednesday until further intimation. Fifty-five patients were shifted to different facilities on a one-day notice, which presented problems for those admitted.

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