Man with Down syndrome dies of no oxygen at hospital, alleges family

Family members of deceased Prashant Sharma showing his photograph on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

Family members of Prashant Sharma, 34, who died at Lok Nayak Hospital on May 1 morning, alleged that he died as there was “no oxygen” available at his bed.

“About two-three hours before he died, he pulled the oxygen mask he was wearing and gestured to me by shaking his hand that oxygen was not coming. I also put my finger inside the mask, where the pipe connects to it and there was no pressure. There was no oxygen. He started gasping and then he started falling unconscious. Finally, he took his last breath at 7.47 a.m.,” his sister Meghna Sharma (29), narrated the ordeal from their residence in Krishna Nagar, East Delhi.

Mr. Prashant, who had Down syndrome, was admitted to the Lok Nayak Hospital for 25 days with his sister. She said that oxygen supply was irregular from April 21 and his condition deteriorated because of it. “On April 20 or 21 around 1.30 a.m., the oxygen was stopped. There was no pressure at all. For about 47-48 minutes, there was no oxygen. Then it was back, but the pressure was very low. Since then, the oxygen pressure was fluctuating and the hospital added around 8-10 cylinders for 48 patients in the ward,” said Ms. Meghna, adding that CT scan was done on the 16th day of admission, despite several requests.

She also alleged that he did not get proper medical care at the hospital. “Two more patients, who were on beds next to us, an uncle and an aunt, died in the one-hour window on May 1 as there was no oxygen. And this was just on my right side and I didn’t even get time to look to the left side,” Ms. Meghna said.

‘Not true’

However, when contacted, Suresh Kumar, who is the Medical Director of the hospital, said it was “not true” and the hospital never ran out of oxygen.

“Oxygen never got over at the hospital. It’s true that sometimes we had only three or four hours of oxygen left, but we never ran out of oxygen. If we had ran out of oxygen, then a large number of people would have died, as we have around 1,500 patients, said Dr. Kumar.

“The CMO [Chief Medical Officer] said that it was a severe case and he came with an oxygen saturation of 60%. We did everything possible to save him,” he added.

Completely fine

On the contrary, Ms. Meghna said he was completely fine on the night of April 30. “He kept saying he was hungry and ate fruits. He loved anything sweet and even ate kheer that we had brought from home. He was completely fine that night,” she said.

His father, Anil Sharma, 66, an ex-cricketer whose both legs are amputated, said the facilities at the hospital including treatment were improper and that led to the death, which he termed a “murder”.

“On the night of April 30, I had a video call with him and he was flexing his muscles and told me that he is fine and coming back home soon. I believe we should file a case against the hospital,” he said.

Whatever happened to our boy, it should not happen to anyone else. Even during the last hours, the doctors did not attend to him. It was just my daughter by his side,” said Mr. Anil.

He was admitted on April 7 but was doing everything, including going to the washroom, by himself. “His mental level was like a child’s, though he was self-dependent. If he had got proper treatment and oxygen, he would be with us now,” Ms. Meghna said, lamenting.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 2:32:41 AM |

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