NEW DELHI :
Over 80 per cent of the patients in the hospital were on oxygen support and 35 were in the ICU, hospital officials said
TWENTY people died at Delhi’s Jaipur Golden Hospital, their lives ebbing away as the hospital waited for oxygen to be replenished, officials said on Saturday, day five of a deepening crisis over the scarcity of oxygen vital to save critically ill COVID patients. Every few hours, as it has been for the last days, hospitals across the national capital and its suburbs sent out desperate messages of help on social media and other platforms, flagging their dwindling stocks of oxygen. The Maharaja Agrasen Hospital approached the Delhi High Court. A day after 25 patients died at the Ganga Ram Hospital, one of the city’s biggest and most high-profile health facilities, the court told the Delhi Government to give it one instance of oxygen supply being obstructed and said, “We will hang that man.”
“We will not spare anyone,” the bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli added while hearing Maharaja Agrasen Hospital’s plea over the shortage of oxygen for its seriously ill Covid patients. At the Jaipur Golden Hospital in southwest Delhi’s Rohini locality, the worst fears came true. “Oxygen pressure has dipped as we are running out of stock,” Medical Director D K Baluja told PTI as news came in of its 20 patients dying through the night. Hospital officials added that over 80 per cent of the patients in the hospital were on oxygen support and 35 were in the ICU.
At Ganga Ram hospital, authorities struggled to avoid a repeat of the earlier day’s tragedy. The hospital requires a minimum of 11,000 cubic metres of oxygen daily but was left with just 200 cubic metres when a tanker with 1.5 tonnes of oxygen arrived at 11.35 am, officials said. “Patients are suffering. We feel sad to see people bringing their oxygen cylinders. Hospital has and is approaching all authorities and nodal officers but no help is coming, Hundreds of calls made, nobody picking the calls,” hospital chairperson D S Rana said. In a pincer effect, the shortage of oxygen and the explosion in the number of cases in Delhi have together stretched healthcare infrastructure to its absolute limits, leaving hospitals big and small struggling and coming up with band aid solutions – limited supplies to see them through for the next few hours before another SOS call. Outside the hospitals, scenes of despair played out with queues of ambulances, frantic relatives and patients gasping for breath as they waited for help and hospitals, overwhelmed and helpless, tried to deal with the multiple emergencies at their doorstep. The story was repeated in hospital after hospital. “We have alerted patients we are low on oxygen. using back up now. Things are really uncertain. Haven’t received a refill for the last 44 hours,” said P K Bhardwaj, Medical Director, Saroj Super Speciality Hospital, a mid-sized hospital in Rohini.
“We are advising them to shift to another hospital. The patients are aware that we have been trying our best,” he said, adding that it has been getting just one metric tonne of oxygen instead of the three it needs. Batra Hospital in Tughlakabad Institutional Area received emergency oxygen supply from the Delhi Government moments after it exhausted its stock, officials said. Executive Director of the hospital, Sudhanshu Bankata, said the facility exhausted its oxygen stock around 9 am. “We received an emergency supply from the Delhi Government. It will last another one-and-a-half hours. Our supplier has not been responding to calls,” he said. There are around 350 patients admitted in the hospital, of which 265 are COVID-19 positive and 30 are in the ICU. The Fortis Hospital in Shalimar Bagh sent out a desperate appeal. “#SOS Fortis Shalimar Bagh is running out of oxygen. Patients’ lives are at risk. We are running on backup, waiting for supplies since morning.
We are currently suspending admissions. Request immediate assistance,” the hospital tweeted at 12.28 pm, tagging the Prime Minister’s Office and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal among others,. “We are keeping patients and attendants informed of the critical situation and trying to manage admitted patients to the best of our abilities,” it added. Moolchand Hospital, a big hospital in south Delhi, said at 7.05 am that it has less than two hours of oxygen suppl left. “We are desperate have tried all the nodal officer numbers but unable to connect. Have over 135 COVID pts with many on life support,” it tweeted. In a ripple effect, Max Hospital in Gurgaon said it too was running out of oxygen “SOS - Less than 2 hour’s Oxygen supplies at Max Hospital Gurugram and attached Dedicated Covid Centre. Over 70 covid pts admitted across. Supplies expected at 10am diverted,” Max Healthcare said on Twitter at 11.20 am The Medical Director of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Suresh Kumar said the facility’s oxygen stock can last up to eight hours. It is likely to be a few days before the crisis is resolved, he said. Delhi logged 24,331 fresh COVID-19 cases and a record single-day jump of 348 deaths on Friday while the positivity rate stood at 32.43 per cent, according to the latest health bulletin.
Six patients die at Amritsar hospital due to lack of oxygen
Apr 24 (PTI)
SIX patients died at a private hospital here on Saturday allegedly due to a shortage of oxygen, prompting Punjab authorities to order a probe into the incident. Five of the six patients were infected with COVID-19, the hospital said. “Despite the district administration being repeatedly asked to extend help, no one turned up to do the needful,” Sunil Devgan, the chairman and managing director of Neelkant hospital where the deaths occurred, alleged. “Six patients, including two women, died due to the shortage of oxygen,” he claimed. However, Medical Education Minister O P Soni refuted the charge and claimed that no proper information was given by the hospital about any shortage of oxygen. “A mere simple message was dropped in a WhatsApp group to the administration,” he said. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner (DC) to initiate a thorough probe into the incident. Singh also said the hospital prima facie seemed to have flouted orders given to all private hospitals facing oxygen shortage to shift their patients to Government medical colleges. The incident comes amid a deepening crisis over the scarcity of oxygen vital to save critically ill COVID patients, with similar tragedies unfolding in hospitals in other parts of the country over the last few days. Devgan claimed that after the death of patients, only five oxygen cylinders were supplied to the hospital.
The hospital chairman claimed that three main oxygen suppliers have said that government hospitals are being prioritised. “Heavy police force has been deployed outside the oxygen units to prevent oxygen supply to private hospitals,” Devgan alleged. Of the six patients who died at the hospital on Saturday, two were from Gurdaspur, one from Tarn Taran district and the remaining three were from Amritsar. The DC has set up a two-member committee, comprising a PCS officer, Dr Rajat Oberoi who is also in-charge of the death analysis committee, and a civil surgeon from Amritsar, to probe the matter, an official spokesperson said. The DC told reporters that oxygen was being supplied to private hospitals without any prejudice and that the government hospital here was also running short of oxygen supply on Friday night. The DC said private hospitals had been told not to admit patients if they do not have oxygen and they should refer patients to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital.