04/12/2015 5:19 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Tamil Nadu ICU Deaths Didn't Occur For Want Of Oxygen Or Ventilator Support: State Health Secretary

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National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescue flood affected people during their relief operations in rain-hit areas on the outskirts of Chennai on November 17, 2015. India has deployed the army and air force to rescue flood-hit residents in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where at least 71 people have died in around a week of torrential rains. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The arrival of 14 dead bodies at Royapettah Government Hospital yesterday night sent the media persons into a tizzy over speculation on the cause of death. Rumour mills were agog with speculative stories and one version even suggested that the deceased might have died for want of oxygen supply or ventilator support.

Tamil Nadu State Health Secretary Dr. J Radhakrishnan rubbished the rumours doing the round as baseless.

“When we did the evacuation, there’re totally 575 patients at MIOT Hospital. During the evacuation operation, we also found 14 dead bodies there,” Radhakrishnan told HuffPost India.

Even as he refused to hazard a guess on the cause of the death, Radhakrishnan was categorical that the deceased did not die due to lack of oxygen supply or ventilator support.

“After an initial examination of the bodies, we’ve found that the deceased had died at varying times during the last 3 three days,” he added.

ALSO READ: Chennai Rains: 14 Die In City Hospital Due To Lack Of Electricity, Oxygen Cylinders

The deceased had originally been admitted to MIOT Hospital, which the state authorities had to evacuate after it got inundated due to incessant rains. The health secretary explained that the bodies were moved to Royapettah Government Hospital on Thursday night with the intention of doing a post-mortem, adding that they could’ve posed as health hazards if they had remained at MIOT Hospital.

“The post-mortem would be done soon and we would know the exact reason behind their death. Before doing that it’s not right to jump into any conclusion,” Radhakrishnan said.

But what prompts the bureaucrat to believe that the deceased did not die for reasons that the media had been speculating till now?

“If that’s so, then all the people at the hospital who’re on oxygen or ventilator support should’ve died. That did not happen, right?” he reasoned.


Meanwhile, to prevent the outbreak of a probable epidemic, Radhakrishnan said the government is fully geared up to meet any exigency.

“Immediately after the rains started, we established over 200 relief camp centres across Chennai with the required manpower and other resources,” he said.

According to him, the work being carried out by these relief camp centres further gets augmented by the deployment of 92 additional mobile medical camps, which have been sent to different parts of Chennai to give medical assistance to those in need.

But, considering the magnitude of the calamity, would these camps suffice? Radhakrishnan said that the health officials are continuously monitoring the situation.

“If we find that we need to set up more camps, we won’t hesitate to do so. At the end of the day, all that we want to do is to ensure public health.”

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