A five-year-old girl died on Monday after the cylinder attached to her ventilator support system ran out of oxygen while she was being shifted to another hospital 160 kilometres away in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar division, an official said.
Bijapur Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr B R Pujari said the incident took place when Bulbul Kudiyam, who was diagnosed with severe pneumonia and was on ventilator support, was being shifted to Jagdalpur Medical College Hospital in Bastar district from Bijapur district hospital.
The girl, who is a resident of Toynar village, had fallen ill at her ashram school in nearby Matwada village and was admitted in Bijapur district hospital on August 22, Dr Pujari told news agency PTI.
He said it was decided on Sunday night, to shift the girl to Jagdalpur, around 160 km from Bijapur, as her condition had turned critical.
Dr Pujari said the oxygen in the cylinder ran out by the time the ambulance reached Tokapal village in Bastar and Kudiyam was declared dead on arrival by doctors of the Jagdalpur Medical College Hospital.
“Generally it requires one oxygen cylinder to shift patients from Bijapur to Jagdalpur. We will investigate how it got exhausted so quickly,” Dr Pujari said.
When asked if a medical technician was travelling in the ambulance, Dr Pujari said the hospital’s sole 108 ambulance with a technician was on duty elsewhere. Hence, the girl was shifted to another ambulance without a technician.
“If the driver had contacted Bijapur health officials in time, they would have arranged for an oxygen cylinder from nearby ambulance services,” he said.
The ambulance driver had reportedly contacted staff at Tokapal’s local government hospital for a replacement oxygen cylinder but was allegedly refused, Chamru Kudiyam, the child’s father, said.
The girl’s father alleged that negligence on the part of Bijapur district hospital led to his daughter’s death.
“The oxygen exhausted in the cylinder when the ambulance was nearing Tokapal. The driver had tried to arrange for another cylinder from Tokapal hospital but the staff there refused. There was no technician in the ambulance either,” Chamru told reporters.
He also accused his child’s ashram school authorities of not providing timely treatment to his daughter.
Bijapur Collector K D Kunjam said that he had directed the CMHO to probe the incident and submit a report.
He said that authorities at Matwada ashram school had also been asked to give an explanation about the treatment given to the child when she fell ill there.