Chamarajnagar Oxygen Crisis: Families Still Awaiting Compensation From the Government

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The Karnataka High Court has ordered the government to pay compensation to the families of 24 Covid patients who died after being hospitalized. Tragedy accident in Chamarajanagar oxygen for Jaishankar family.

Siddarajamma was preceded in death by her husband Jaishankar, a 37-year-old engineer employed in Bengaluru, after a shortness of breath at Chamarajanagar Hospital on May 2.

"He was admitted to the Chamarajanagar General Hospital on April 27 after being tested for COVID-19, and his fullness level dropped. On the night of May 2, due to lack of oxygen in the hospital, Jaishankar died," his wife Siddarajamma told. His family of six, including son and daughter, relied entirely on his income.

"We all relied on Jaishankar. My father-in-law is recovering from a stroke. So far, on the government side, we have not received any help. So I am asking the government to help our two children in education and give me a job to look after my family," said Siddarajamma.

Jaishankar is among 24 Covid patients who died after being hospitalized. His family, like many others, is still awaiting compensation from the government despite directions from the state supreme court.

Even the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority's Covid Monitoring Committee, in its report presented to the Supreme Court on May 12, recommended compensation for the victims' families.

Chamarajanagar regional minister Suresh Kumar said the government would soon decide on damages for families.

"The Karnataka High Court has ordered the administration to pay the families, and Prime Minister BS Yediyurappa will declare the government's position in court before the next hearing," he said.

Rani, a former nurse who also lost her husband in the tragedy, blamed hospital officials for the drop in oxygen levels.

"We have not heard anything so far from the management or the government. We have been married for only two months now, and I have been working as a nurse. Today, the situation is tough for me. After losing my husband, I did not come out of this misery," she said.

In its report, the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, led by Judge AN Venugopala Gowda, confirmed that the 24 patients had died from oxygen shortages. However, the state government had earlier stated that only three deaths occurred for this reason.

The committee's report said hospital officials and the Chamarajanagar regional commissioner had failed to show leadership.

"Head of the Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) and the district's chief operating doctor, a microbiologist, have not shown a level of leadership and have failed to make the best available resources to save lives," the report said.

"The Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajanagar, as Chairperson of the Regional Disaster Management Committee, has sadly failed to address and manage the crisis that has arisen due to the high oxygen demand. On the contrary, he became involved in an illegal game that accused the Mysuru Regional Commissioner of creating a barrier to obtaining oxygen for no reason," the report continued.

The committee submitted its report to the Karnataka High Court after reviewing the Secretary-General's official records with court references.

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