Differences at the top of Goa's Covid management pyramid appear to be affecting the state's battle against Covid-19, with the medical fraternity, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant not appearing to be on the same page vis a vis deaths at Covid facilities due to oxygen shortage.
While Rane has claimed that no deaths have occurred in the state due to oxygen shortage, the Goa Association of Resident Doctors has claimed the contrary. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has now blamed health officials, including Rane and the dean of the state's top government medical facility Dr Shivanand Bandekar for not informing him about oxygen shortage in health facilities.
The controversy first erupted after the Association, in a letter to the dean last week, said that patients were dying at the Covid hospitals due to lack of oxygen.
"In the middle of the night when oxygen gets over, and patients worsen and sometimes die, it's the junior doctor on duty who has to face angry relatives," the letter had said. Following the revelation, the Congress party in Goa had demanded booking the Chief Minister for culpable homicide.
Health Minister Rane has however ruled out any deaths in the state linked to oxygen shortage.
"(There is) no death due to lack of oxygen. They (doctors) have met me. All the doctors' apprehensions have been addressed. It is a challenge for the government," Rane said.
The Health Minister said that Sawant had assumed responsibility for oxygen supply and the buck stopped with the CM with regard to the critical issue.
Sawant has however maintained that he was not even aware of the oxygen shortage in the state, until he saw the letter written by the resident doctors' association to the dean after it was published in the media on Monday.
"I came to know about this issue only after reading their (resident doctor's association) statement in newspapers," Sawant said, adding that neither Rane nor the dean had informed him about the issue.
When asked about Rane's statement that on oxygen supply the buck stops with the CM, Sawant said: "One person cannot take such control. It is teamwork, and we have an entire disaster management committee working towards it".
Goa has witnessed more than 200 deaths over the last four days. The state currently has 26,731 active Covid cases, while in all 1,00,902 persons have tested positive in Goa so far since the pandemic outbreak.
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