Patients were seriously ill and died of natural causes

The high-level team that probed in detail the cause of deaths of three patients in the Co-operative Medical College between July 15 and 17 has said that there was no disruption in oxygen supply that was alleged to have caused the death of the patients.

Sources told The Hindu that the report was submitted to the government a couple of days ago, based on which action would be taken. The expert team has also made some recommendations, regarding oxygen supply in the ICU and operation theatres that would provide enough backup system to the centralised supply of oxygen.

Strengthening the backup supply of oxygen with more cylinders has been mentioned as an important suggestion.

This is noted as a precautionary measure that would stand in stead if there is any problem to the centralised oxygen supply, the report has said.

The team headed by S. Ravindran, former Registrar, Cooperative Society comprised Dr. Ramdas, Professor of anaesthesia, Thrissur Medical College and Dr. Dinesh Prabhu, Professor of chest diseases, Kottayam Medical College. The probe was conducted for at least three non-continuous days beginning July 31.

The team had sittings with the technician in-charge of the oxygen plant who was dismissed following media reports alleging lack of oxygen supply in ICU; the nurse in-charge of ICU who was suspended pending inquiry; Dr. K. G. R. Mallan, superintendent of the hospital, who was removed from the position; relatives of patients who had died and other personnel in the hospital connected with the intensive care unit.

A preliminary report and an internal probe conducted by the medical college had also pointed out that the death of patients was natural and not due to lack of oxygen supply.

The three patients, the earlier reports had mentioned, were seriously ill due to various respiratory diseases, including TB.

Various employee associations, especially the medical college teachers’ association, are awaiting a decision by the government to streamline the administrative set up in the medical college hospital. There are also many who believe that the government should take over the medical college while many others believe it would be better off in the co-operative sector.

The medical college that provides low cost treatment to poor patients and provides RSBY facility is likely to start certain superspecialty departments that include renal transplant and neurosurgery. A senior doctor said that a trauma care centre in the college would be one of the best things to happen as it has all the infrastructure to develop into a major centre.

However, it is yet to be seen, whether the government would take such a step when a number of private hospitals in the district are taking the major responsibility for admitting trauma cases, said the doctor.

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