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Old woman dies during hospital power cut, govt orders probe

Last Updated: Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 21:27

New Delhi: The Delhi government Sunday ordered a probe into the death of 74-year-old Sharda Gaur, who died Saturday when her life support device failed during a power cut in a government hospital.

Gaur was admitted to the Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital in New Delhi area Sep 7. She underwent angioplasty, following which she was kept in the intensive coronar care unit (ICCU). For the past few days she was on ventilator.
Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia ordered a probe into her death and said that the hospital authorities should "own up responsibility".

"I have to get the whole thing inquired into - what kind of negligence has taken place? Was there a mechanical failure? A stand-by (arrangement) should always be there."

"It has never been there and I have never heard of a tragedy like this in one of our hospitals. It is one of our very good hospitals, a super-speciality hospital. Definitely somebody has to own up the responsibility," Walia said.

She added: "At the same time, it should never be repeated and I must find out what happened. Somebody should give me the report in 48 hours. These are life-saving devices... ventilating systems, and serious patients are put on it, and I do appreciate the sensitivity of the issue and we will definitely investigate."
Gaur`s son Harish Gaur is still in shock over the death of his mother owing to a power cut, which he said caused the life support device to fail. In his mother` last hour, he said he frenetically tried to get the power supply restored.

"When the power failed, I called the nurse. She said she would come but no one came. Then I took the number of (the nurse station) and called but nobody picked the call. I ran to the nurse because the ventilator began to beep - and in that time my mother died," said Harish Gaur with tears rolling down his cheeks.

Hospital staff, meanwhile, has admitted that the power supply went off for an hour but held that Sharda did not die on account of this.

"Doctors did their best and the patient died because `she was very ill`," said a senior doctor at the hospital who is not authorised to speak to media.

The hospital reportedly had prior intimation about the power cut which happened due to construction work in the complex.

"A medical inquiry will be conducted and only after that establishes the cause of death, we would register a case," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Jaspal Singh told reporters.


First Published: Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 21:27
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