"It was a disaster averted," says Dr Sumit Ray, a critical care specialist and the medical superintendent of Holy Family Hospital, a 385-bed facility in East Delhi, now converted into a fully COVID hospital.
He has at any given time 345 patients on oxygen, some needing high flow oxygen, many on ventilators. This past week has been taxing. Everyday, an SOS goes out. Oxygen running out in hours. On 23rd April, an SOS read - oxygen running out in 30 minutes. And everyday, a scramble to arrange the life saving oxygen brings the hospital and its patients to the brink.
"For a COVID patient, there are only two known treatments, oxygen and steroids," says Dr Ray. On the morning of 23 April, another big hospital in the heart of Delhi, Sir Gangaram Hospital, ran out of oxygen. 25 of the most critical patients reportedly died because of low-pressure oxygen.
"Patients on ventilators will die within minutes, those on high-flow oxygen will be left gasping for breath within hours."
That this tragedy is unfolding in the national capital, in a country that produces enough oxygen, is horrifying.
"This could have been averted with better planning between states and the center. What we need is constructive federalism, and what we need now is to curb the surge."
But how does a hospital manage in a crisis? Dr Sumit Ray speaks with FIT.