Twenty patients including eight children allegedly died and many others had a harrowing experience when Kurnool Government General Hospital plunged into darkness for 12 hours after power supply snapped from 7 pm on Wednesday till Thursday morning. Worse still, no senior doctor, not even the Resident Medical Officer, was around at the teaching hospital during the outage. Of the 20 patients who reportedly died, four were women. A senior doctor on condition of anonymity admitted that electricity disruption had caused most of the deaths. According to sources, power snapped when staff of the Police Outpost on hospital premises hooked electric cables to HT wires to draw electricity illegally. Though hospital authorities contacted power utility staff, few linemen were available. "We made frantic efforts to get the power fixed, but no lineman was available until morning. It is the police outpost staff who are to blame," Hospital superintendent Dr J Veeraswamy said. He managed to get in touch with a few linemen, but they refused to climb electric poles at night. After learning of the tragedy, AP Health minister Kamineni Srinivas sought a report on the matter from the hospital superintendent. He made his displeasure apparent on being told that none of the duty doctors were at the wards even as patients battled for life. The minister while directing authorities concerned to solve the power problem with immediate effect, also asked them to make alternative arrangements during power cuts. Veeraswamy said the RMO should have been present at the hospital during the crisis and added that the hospital's staff were to be 'blamed for their gross negligence'. Meanwhile, a blame game of sorts broke out between hospital authorities and power utility staff. While the superintendent blamed the latter for not being able to make arrangements for linemen, they claimed correcting electricity problems within the hospital was not their responsibility. Power utility superintendent engineer G Bhargava Ramudu said a High Tension connection had been given to the hospital and the substation within its premises was meant to supply power to it.