Seven officers, including the Hospital Director of the Medical Training Institute at the Khyber Teaching Hospital Dr. Tahir Nadeem Khan were suspended on Monday. This came after a preliminary investigation report has been submitted regarding the oxygen shortage at Khyber Teaching Hospital that resulted in the tragic death of six patients.
However, the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has termed the suspension of seven officials of Khyber Teaching Hospital Peshawar on account of their negligence in the tragic incident as in-sufficient and has directed the Board of Governors of the hospital to conduct further inquiry into the matter covering all the aspects of the incident, fix exact responsibilities and take strict action against the responsible ones including their termination from services.
As many as six Covid-19 patients, it may be recalled, had died due to a shortage of oxygen at Peshawar’s Khyber Teaching Hospital Saturday late night. Five of the patients who died were in the Covid isolation ward and one was in the ICU
The inquiry found that while the MTI has oxygen storage tank of 10,000 cubic meter capacity, it was never filled to capacity. There was no backup system for oxygen supply as recommended by the health technical memorandum. Ms Pakistan Oxygen limited has the contract to supply oxygen to the hospital but the contract expired on June 30, 2017 and no renewal/extension of contract is available in the record provided by the manager pharmacy. The supply chain manager confirmed the extension telephonically till June 30, 2020. The hospital oxygen tank was last filled on December 4 by 3,040 cubic meters.
The report also found that the staff at the oxygen plant lack proper technical skills and training. The on duty manager of services received a call from main operation theatre about low oxygen pressure and called the oxygen plant operator, but he was not picking up. He then physically visited the plant and found that the two on duty staff members were not present.
The pressure at the plant at the time was zero according to the pressure gauge reading. The report said the oxygen plant assistant failed to perform his duty as he is responsible for the oxygen plant and has a liaison with the supplier. At the time of the incident, there were 90 patients at the hospital, 20 on BiPAP, two on ventilators and the remaining on mask oxygen. The hospital ordered 13 patients to be shifted to the accident and emergency department where backup supply in the form of manifold was available and the remaining patients were put on cylinder oxygen supply.
There was no organized emergency rescue squad at the hospital as required for disaster management under such conditions, the inquiry found. “Six patients in the isolation ward expired. Three patients were missing, one is still untraceable and the other two were traced and are alive.”
It found that the Hospital Biomedical Engineer and his technical team have failed to train the oxygen plant staff to monitor and maintain the service history and look after the biomechanics of this important life-saving equipment.
Special Assistant to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister on information Kamran Bangash announced on Monday families of people who died at Khyber Teaching Hospital for want of oxygen supply will get Rs1 million compensation.
He was addressing a press conference alongside Health and Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra after a high-level meeting chaired by CM Mahmood Khan to review a preliminary report compiled by the hospital’s board of governors on the tragic incident.
Bangash said the KP chief minister has sought a detailed report about the incident in five days, which will not only fix responsibility for the oxygen shortage that led to the deaths of six people but also spell out action taken against those responsible.
Jhagra said a drop in oxygen level should have been pointed out immediately, which unfortunately didn’t happen due to the absence of the relevant staff. He cleared that no attempts were made to cover up anything in the initial report.
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has termed the suspension of seven officials of Khyber Teaching Hospital Peshawar on account of their negligence in the tragic incident which caused the lives of seven patients due to unavailability of Oxygen as in-sufficient and has directed the Board of Governors of the hospital to conduct further inquiry into the matter covering all the aspects of the incident, fix exact responsibilities and take strict action against the responsible ones including their termination from services. He has made it clear that all the responsible ones of the criminal negligence would not be spared at any cost adding that if the BoG didn’t take strict action against the responsible quarters, then the provincial government will intervene and conduct an independent inquiry of its own to fix responsibilities and take action accordingly.
He was chairing a special meeting regarding the KTH incident here at Chief Minister Secretariat on Monday which was attended by provincial cabinet members Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Sultan Khan, Shaukat Yousfzai, Kamran Bangash, Advocate General, Secretary Health, Director General Health, Chairman BoG, KTH and other members of the BoG. The meeting reviewed the preliminary inquiry report of the BoG and appreciated the BoG and health department for conducting the preliminary inquiry within 24 hours instead of 48 hours.