India, July 24 -- First we felt we were mere numbers; now we feel we are not even numbers," Ruchika Gupta, told me, all the way from the Netherlands, from where she has mobilised a support group for families whose relatives died from a shortage of oxygen at Delhi's Jaipur Golden Hospital in April.

Like everyone else, Gupta, whose father was among the 21 patients who died within a few hours at the hospital because the oxygen supply to the intensive care unit (ICU) was stalled, is horrified at the callousness of the government's response in Parliament. Passing the buck to the states and Union Territories, the health minister argued in the Rajya Sabha that no oxygen-related deaths had been officially reported to them.

Even a perfunctory ackn...