In viral videos from five days ago, families of Covid victims enter a Gurgaon hospital to find no doctor or staff and come up against locked ICUs. Then, in a horrifying moment, they enter an ICU to find body after body.
In the chilling clip, the camera focuses on patients lying still in ICU beds and a person saying in the background - "dead, dead..."
Six Covid patients died on Friday night at the Kriti Hospital in Gurgaon - the day the videos were taken -- reportedly due to oxygen shortage. Three of them were in the ICU.
The videos show relatives running around wards, finding not a doctor or staff member, just empty desks. "Neither the doctor is here, nor the chemist... no one at the reception. There is not even a guard," says a voice.
The videos show enraged family members walking through nurse stations, wards and cabins highlighting missing doctors and staff. Enraged relatives argue with policemen and ask how doctors can be allowed to desert their patients and leave them to die.
The relatives claim doctors and staff abandoned ICU patients and fled after the hospital ran out of oxygen. They angrily confront the police.
"How can you allow doctors to run away like this? Only someone who loses their loved ones can understand how we feel," said a man to two policemen who apparently just arrived.
Family members blamed the hospital for oxygen shortage and negligence. "My nephew died. I brought three cylinders on my own for him but they finished within minutes and he died. There was no more Oxygen," said one relative in a video shot by journalists a day later.
Another lost his brother. "My brother who was a very fit 40-year-old man died. The hospital could never give clarity on Oxygen situation. My brother died due to Oxygen shortage," he said/
The hospital administration says the doctors were in the building that day, "hiding in the canteen" for fear of being attacked by families over the lack of oxygen.
Hospital Director Swati Rathore told NDTV that the hospital had informed every government official from 2 pm that day that they were about to run out of oxygen.
"We had informed relatives of the patients from 4 pm to shift their patients due to the oxygen crisis. But no help came and there were six casualties around 11 pm," Dr Rathore said.
She claimed she asked her staff to hide in the canteen to save their own lives as six days previously (April 24) attendants of other patients had violently assaulted their staff and an FIR had been registered by the hospital.
"I feared that my staff would lose their lives this time. The staff never left the hospital that night. They hid temporarily to save their lives," said the hospital director.
"All 15-20 staff members resumed duties as soon as police arrived at the spot on Friday night."
The hospital says currently six Covid patients are admitted and at the moment, there is enough oxygen. "But the crisis still lingers every few hours," she admitted.
Mohan Rai, an employee who drives the vehicle that goes for oxygen refilling, said, "We go each day to get cylinders refilled but it's nearly impossible at all plants. Our vehicle with 20 empty cylinders has been at the Manesar oxygen plant for 24 hours but we have not been able to get them refilled yet."
The Gurgaon administration claimed that the hospital was not registered as a Covid hospital and an inquiry was on into the deaths.
"Two-three facts are very clear, which were preliminary reported to me by the Chief Medical Officer. The hospital was not registered as a Covid centre with the CMO so it should not have taken Covid patients in the first place - because we monitor Covid hospitals very closely. So this hospital was not under that scrutiny. Secondly, the number of admitted patients was much higher. So whether it was sick patients who died or whether it was the oxygen crunch. At what time the SOS was raised and how the situation was handled will only come out in the inquiry report," said Yash Garg, Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon.
When NDTV questioned the Dr Rathore on the hospital not being registered for Covid treatment, she claimed her application was forwarded and she was given a "verbal go-ahead" to start admitting Covid patients.