As many as 21 patients undergoing various treatments at the State government-run Gandhi Hospital died due to power outage on Friday. Though the premier 1,200-bed medical facility is known for its poor treatment of patients, mostly from economically weaker sections, so many patients dying due to a problem which contradicts the government's claim that power supply in the state has radically improved, is not a minute issue. Hyderabad's media has conveniently ignored the issue and no political party raised voice against it. The medical staff blamed power outages for the deaths. Doctors said electricity first tripped around 3pm and then continued to do so at regular intervals. Although there were four generators on standby, the hospital claimed they had developed snags and could not be used after power lines were later cut off, to find the cause of the tripping. The 21 deaths occurred in the hospital's speciality wards, including the respiratory intensive care unit, surgical intensive care unit, non-natal intensive care unit, acute medical care unit and the emergency ward. All these wards were affected by the power failure. "There is a three-phase power supply to the hospital, but with the lines tripping on and off, our staff found it difficult to manage uninterrupted supply," a doctor said. Some of the deaths on Friday were of patients who were on life support system, such as ventilators and incubators in the neo-natal ward. Other emergency equipment that needed high voltage power to function was also affected. "I used my mobile phone torch to carry out an emergency surgery on a 28-year old man with an infected intestine," said a senior doctor, who was on duty in one of the affected departments. Though ambu-bags providing hand-pressed oxygen were used on all patients who were on ventilators, the source said it was possible that some of the attendants may have administered the gas incorrectly. This job is usually handled by hospital staff, but the task was left to the attendants on Friday. The Gandhi Hospital mostly serves patients from the 10 districts of Telangana, but also attracts people from neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka. The affected families could not be reached for their response. Southern Power Distribution Company Limited's Secunderabad divisional engineer Rajaram Reddy confirmed Friday's power failure in the hospital. He said the supply had been hit between 9pm and 10.45pm due to some problems at the local sub-station. "We restored the supply at 10.45pm. We are aware that the hospital had some trouble with its own generating equipment," he said.