Oxygen Shortage at Delhi Hospital: Tragedy Averted in Nick of Time
With two hours of oxygen supply left, CEO of Shanti Mukand hospital broke into tears. A race against time followed.
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
"We are supposed to save patients. We are supposed to save lives. With no oxygen, patients will die!"
With less than two hours' worth of oxygen supply left, Dr Sunil Saggar, CEO of Delhi's Shanti Mukand hospital, broke into tears as he desperately appealed for the Centre's intervention to save the lives of over 110 critical patients – including COVID patients, on 22 April.
Closer to noon, the hospital put up notices outside the gate and on the main building, saying that they are ‘stopping admission’ because of no oxygen supply. With no help in sight, after an hour, hospital management sent an SOS to the Delhi government officials saying that the hospital would be ‘forced to discharge patients’ if oxygen supply is not restored.
A Race Against Time...
After the notices were put up by the hospital and the news of the SOS appeal by the management spread, family members of the patients started panicking. The kin, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers were left with no choice but to make frantic appeals and SOS calls, asking for help.
“We have 110 patients on oxygen support. As doctors, we should give them life. But we can’t even give them oxygen. If a patient comes here, they will die... There are 12 patients who are on ventilator. We have been left with oxygen, which may not last more than two hours. If we are not supplied liquid oxygen immediately, we will be left with no option but to discharge our patients and we may lose precious lives…”Dr Sunil Saggar, CEO, Shanti Mukand hospital
And when the hospital finally ran out of oxygen, the management appealed to the family members of the not-so-critical patients to discharge them immediately. But the hospital staff refused to give up. They were spotted manually carrying oxygen cylinders one at a time inside the hospital, in a bid to save precious lives. Some dear ones of the patients also tried to arrange for cylinders.
By evening, the hospital was forced to discharge seven patients as their desperate family members tried to arrange alternatives. Several hours after the hospital ran out of oxygen and the staff and relatives of the patients began losing hope, an oxygen tanker finally arrived at Shanti Mukand hospital, around 7.40 in the evening.
Delhi and UP Police created a green corridor from Modi Nagar to Karkardooma for safe and speedy transport of oxygen. A major tragedy was averted at the nick of time, giving partial relief amid the COVID crisis that has brought India to its knees.
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