Oxygen Crisis: Hospitals in Delhi, Maharashtra Issue SOS
Delhi CM Kejriwal tweeted, “I urge the Central government with folded hands to urgently provide oxygen to Delhi.”
Amid an acute medical oxygen crisis, a hospital in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra issued an SOS on Tuesday, 20 April, saying that it would run out of oxygen reserves within hours.
A doctor from the Maccare Super Speciality Hospital in the district, said in a video appeal, “Normally we would shift some patients to other hospitals... where there is oxygen... but in this situation all hospitals are struggling... none in the city have spare oxygen,” NDTV reported.
In Pune, Dr Abhijeet Darak informed news agency ANI, “We have 14 ICU beds and 23 oxygen beds. The district collector has assured supply of 20 oxygen cylinders but hospital administration is not aware when it will reach them. If those cylinders reach, they can last for another three to four hours,” adding that a patient had already died due to the deficit in supply of medical oxygen.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister tweeted on Tuesday:
- Max Hospital in the national capital informed NDTV that its supplies have been disrupted and it has only six to twelve hours worth of oxygen left. One of the biggest hospitals in Delhi, Sir Ganga Ram hospital has also said that their supplies will run for around eight hours.
- Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain urged Railways Minister Piyush Goyal to “restore oxygen supply chain to avert a major crisis” as he informed of an “acute shortage of oxygen at GTB Hospital” on Twitter. He added, “Oxygen may not last beyond 4 hours. More than 500 corona patients on oxygen.” However, minutes before the oxygen supply was to end, an oxygen tanker from INOX reached GTB hospital. Twitter had accounts of several doctors breathing a sigh of relief at the last minute turn of events.
- Deputy CM Manish Sisodia spoke to news agency ANI and said, “If more oxygen isn't made available immediately it could affect lives. No action was taken on our request to the Centre to increase Delhi's quota of oxygen.” In a tweet, Sisodia also said, "In many hospitals in Delhi, oxygen is available till only next 8-12 hours. We have been demanding for one week to increase the oxygen supply quota to Delhi, which the central government has to do. If oxygen does not reach the hospitals in sufficient quantity by tomorrow morning, there will be an outcry.” Sisodia also shared the list of some government and private hospitals with the period for which they have oxygen supply.
- As per government sources, the Centre is trying to resolve the issue in both the healthcare facilities.
- The oxygen crisis reached the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, which questioned the Central government on why it was waiting till 22 April to use oxygen used for industrial purposes for COVID patients amid an unprecedented health emergency. The court said, "Economic interests can't override human lives, else we are heading for a disaster," NDTV reported.
- The Centre in response said that private hospitals give excess oxygen to patients for "psychological purposes” adding that “the states were asked to provide projections for their oxygen requirement as on 20, 25 and 30 April. Delhi's requirement was forecast as 300 MT on 20 April.” However, at a meeting on 18 April, the requirement for Delhi was revised from 300 MT to 700 MT,” NDTV reported.
- Chairman of Delhi’s Gangaram hospital said on Tuesday, “Due to a high number of cases, requirement of medical oxygen in the hospital has gone up three times. There is an acute shortage of oxygen in our hospital, we need a minimum of 5,000 cubic metres of oxygen tonight to keep patients alive,” ANI quoted. The hospital has now received the required quantity of medical oxygen from a private vendor and the supply should last till Wednesday afternoon, reported IANS.
- The government has also informed that eight PSA Oxygen Generation Plants are being installed in Delhi, which will increase the capacity by 14.4 metric tonnes.
The national capital, which is under a six-day lockdown that started on Monday, 19 April, reported over 32,000 daily cases in the last 24 hours on Monday.
- Maccare Super Speciality Hospital in Ahmednagar on Tuesday said that it only has three to four hours of oxygen supply left. “Right now there is shortage of oxygen... there has been shortage for the past few days but somehow we were managing. Today there is an acute crisis,” Dt Satish Sonavane said, NDTV reported.
- The hospital is treating 85 COVID patients, out of which, nearly 70 are on oxygen support.
- As per Dr Sonavane, the demand in the district is 60 metric tonnes, but it is only receiving 23 tonnes of oxygen.
- In Pune’s Yog Multispeciality Hospital, Dr Darak informed that one patient has died due to the lack of oxygen supply and there is only one hour’s supply left. “For the last two days, we're struggling due to lack of liquid oxygen. Currently, 11 patients are on ventilators.”
- Two of Mumbai's private hospitals – Vinayaka Hospital and Riddhi Vinayak Multispeciality Hospital – had reported 11 COVID-related deaths due to lack of oxygen or LMO (Liquid Medical Oxygen) in Nalasopara, Palghar district last week.
The Central government on Friday, 16 April, had issued several emergency orders pertaining to the rising medical oxygen demand, as the country grapples with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic amid an unravelling health infrastructure.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted amid these shortages:
India's total tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,53,21,089 with over 2.59 lakh new coronavirus infections being reported in the last 24 hours on Tuesday, as active cases surpassed the 20-lakh mark, according to the data by the Union Health Ministry. The death toll reached 1,80,530 with 1,761 daily new fatalities, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.
(With inputs from NDTV, ANI)
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