Death becomes a business amidst the pandemic

COVID-19 Crime Health Top story

Non-medical graded oxygen concentrators are costing people their lives

Kanpur: Amidst the acute oxygen shortage in the country, some suppliers in Kanpur are selling non-medical graded oxygen concentrators to patients. As per the Crime Branch Commissionerate of police, this has led to 32 deaths of COVID patients in the month of May alone.

One of the families bought a 5 litre Oxygen concentrator, but they were too late to realize that the oxygen inflow was barely 30%. They lost their family member because of the fraud. “They took Rs 55,000 from my brother. We got to know later that there was no oxygen in the concentrator. But he passed away. We lodged a complaint but not much has been done”, says Ritesh Jha, brother of the deceased.

The experts say that it is imperative that the buyers ensure that the concentrator has been medically graded. They must also ensure that the oxygen inflow is not less than 92% before using it.  “Please be careful when you are buying the concentrator. Many people are also selling nebulisers in the name of the oxygen concentrator. The original once comes with a nasal prong and humidifier. Do not fall prey to false concentrators”, says the COVID officer for GSVM Hospital, Dr. Rudra Singh.

The police says that the most they can do is put a corruption charge on the supplier. They say Homicide charge isn’t possible since the body of the patient is cremated within two hours of the death. This leaves them no time for post-mortem. DCP Crime Branch of Kanpur Police, Salman taj Patil states, “We have recorded around 55 cases. We can’t do much because even to collect evidence, we need time.” 

Officials say that they are trying to track down the suppliers who have been selling the non-medical graded concentrators. While few arrests have been made so far, the families of the deceased mourn their loss await justice.


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