As severe oxygen shortage continues in Delhi, the national capital’s Jaipur Golden Hospital on Saturday, 24 April, said that 25 people had died while in care due to oxygen shortage. The hospital added that its oxygen supply was running low and at that time, was estimated to last only half an hour more. An oxygen tanker has now arrived at the hospital.
Dr DK Baluja, Medical Director at Jaipur Golden Hospital, told NDTV that they had been allotted 3.5 metric tonnes of oxygen from the government, which was to reach by 5 pm in the evening, but only arrived around midnight.
“By then, 25 patients had died," he told NDTV.
Meanwhile, Delhi’s Saroj Hospital’s COVID in-charge said that they are closing the admissions because of an oxygen shortage and are discharging the patients. They have also advised family members of patients to make alternate arrangements owing to the shortage of oxygen.
“We haven't received backup oxygen supply yet. We have 70 patients who are in critical condition and need oxygen. If we don't get oxygen supply there could be a big disaster,” he told ANI.
PM Modi Chairs Meeting Amidst Oxygen Shortage
As SOS calls keep pouring in from hospitals, PM Modi chaired a meeting to review steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country.
In the meeting, he reportedly emphasised on the immediate need to augment the supply of medical-grade oxygen as well as equipment required for patient care both at home and in hospitals.
While deciding to grant full exemption from Basic Customs Duty and health cess on import of items related to oxygen and oxygen equipments for three months, he also directed the Revenue Department to ensure quick custom clearance of such essentials.
Many Hospitals Sound Alarm Bells
Several hospitals in the national capital have sent out SOS calls on Saturday, pleading for oxygen supply as they struggled to cope with COVID patients requiring the life-saving gas.
Delhi Moolchand hospital sent out an urgent SOS call, saying that they had less than two hours of oxygen support remaining.
The hospital is currently treating over 135 COVID-19 patients.
“We are desperate; have tried all the nodal officer numbers but unable to connect,” the hospital said on Twitter, tagging CM Arvind Kejriwal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lt Governor Anil Baijal as it pleaded for urgent help.
NDTV reported, quoting sources, that the hospital chain has stopped admitting patients till the shortage is resolved.
The Medical Director of Moolchand Hospital, Madhu Handa, told NDTV an hour later that they were down to 30 minutes of oxygen supply but added that they had managed to get in touch with nodal officers and cognisance had been taken of the shortage.
“But I think there are other hospitals facing similar challenge. So they now have to prioritise,” Handa said, adding that the situation was so bad that she had been coordinating since 4 am in the morning for this.
Delhi’s Batra Hospital was the other one which sent out an SOS call, telling NDTV that they were completely out of oxygen reserves.
“Our oxygen supply is over. There is no oxygen in the tank. We are only able to supply oxygen to the patients in ICU,” Dr Bankata, Executive Director, Batra Hospital told NDTV.
Sometime later however, the hospital received oxygen supply from the Delhi Government, which reportedly provided one oxygen tanker.
“We have another one to one-and-a-half hours of oxygen for all our patients. There are 260 patients in the hospital,” Dr Gupta told ANI.
However, the SOS call is still alive even after the hospital received the oxygen supply this morning as it met less than 10 percent of its daily oxygen requirement.
“We have received only 500 litres of oxygen after pleading for 12 hours. Our daily requirement is 8,000 litres. We've 350 patients in the hospital. The treatment of choice in COVID is oxygen but when we don't get it, what will happen?” reported ANI, quoting Dr SCL Gupta, MD, Batra Hospital.
In the later half of the day, the hospital received 1,500 litres of medical oxygen.
Fortis, Shalimar Bagh
Fortis Shalimar Bagh in Delhi has also joined in to send out an SOS, saying that they are running out of oxygen and have been running on backup.
The hospital also said that they are suspending admissions and requested immediate assistance, tagging CM Kejriwal, PM Modi, Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Rajnath Singh on Twitter.
Max Hospital, Gurugram
At the same time, Max Hospital in Gurugram also sent out at SOS saying that they had less than two hours of oxygen supply remaining and had 70 COVID patients admitted. The hospital asked for urgent help, claiming that their oxygen supply expected at 10 am had been diverted.
Oxygen Woes Rage in Delhi
Oxygen supply woes have been raging in Delhi for days now, with hospitals desperately seeking the life-saving gas, restricted by its neighbours – Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
On Friday, Director-Medical of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the national capital told ANI on that 25 sickest patients had passed away in a 24-hour period at the hospital. The director had said that the hospital only has a stock of oxygen for another two hours and ventilators and BiPAP are not working efficiently.
The same day, Delhi’s Max Hospital took to Twitter to send out an SOS, saying that they only had an hour’s oxygen supply remaining and had been waiting for fresh supplies from INOX since 1 am. The hospital chain said that they had over 700 patients admitted and were in need of immediate assistance.
Hospitals Move HC Over Shortage
On Friday, Bram Healthcare Private Limited and Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre moved the Delhi High Court over the shortage of oxygen, joining the list of at least six hospitals to have done so amid the crippling shortage of the life-saving gas.
The Delhi High Court told the Nodal Officer of Delhi to issue necessary instructions for these two hospitals on Friday, reported ANI.
On Wednesday, Max Healthcare became the first hospital to move the Delhi HC citing an acute shortage of oxygen. Max had informed the court that it currently has only three hours of oxygen and if the oxygen runs outs, the lives of 400 patients, out of which 262 are COVID patients, are under threat.
Max Group of Hospitals had released a press statement detailing the hours of oxygen supply left at its hospitals across the capital. According to the statement, all hospitals had less than 24 hours of supply left, with some having just 2-3 hours of oxygen left when the press release came.
Several major hospitals in Delhi, like Max, Apollo, Sri Ganga Ram and Fortis, are dependent on oxygen suppliers from the neighbouring states, but the restrictions continue even after the Delhi High Court ruled against any curb.
On Thursday, the Delhi High Court directed all authorities concerned to ensure strict compliance of the MHA order, that there shall be no restriction on inter-and intra-state movement of medical oxygen.
(With inputs from ANI and NDTV.)