Timely Intervention Can Reduce Need for Oxygen: Dr Mathew Varghese

Dr Varghese says that the dependency on oxygen can be reduced if the timing of intervention is correct.

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As SOS calls from hospitals across the national capital region on oxygen shortages continue for several straight days, India has broken new records in the number of COVID infections and deaths.

On Friday, 23 April, 25 lives at the Jaipur Golden Hospital in Delhi were lost due to lack of medical oxygen supply. Similar tragic reports came in from Gangaram hospital a day earlier.

Could this have been prevented with better preparation? What is behind the acute oxygen shortage?

The Quint speaks with veteran orthopaedic surgeon and public health expert Dr Mathew Varghese.

“The dependency over oxygen can be reduced if the timing of the intervention is correct,” says Dr Varghese.

He explains an important five-day period of COVID symptoms, which can help reduce further health degradation due to the virus.

“If you have fever and cough for five days, that is the time you get the test done. If you have to take steroids and anticoagulants, that is the time to take. Not before that! If you don’t have any symptoms after five days, it means you have recovered. But if you have fever and having breathlessness even after five days, and you have taken steroids and anticoagulants, you would not need oxygen.”
Dr Mathew Varghese, Ortho Surgeon and Public Health Expert

He says this will reduce the surplus demand for oxygen that we are witnessing at the moment.

In conversation with The Quint, Dr Varghese also points out an important reason for us having to deal with so many critical cases at the hospitals.

“The pulse oximeter that we are using in our homes shows the oxygen saturation of our blood. The reading goes below only when the capacity of your lungs are reduced by almost 60 percent. This happens only in 14-15 days after the first symptoms were seen.”
Dr Mathew Varghese, Ortho Surgeon and Public Health Expert

“And that’s when you need oxygen and a ventilator,” adds Dr Varghese.

Watch the full interview here.

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