Delhi hospitals continue to face oxygen shortage

Family members of COVID-19 patients outside an oxygen-filling center to refill their empty cylinders, as demand for the gas rises due to spike in coronovirus cases. -Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Some hospitals in the national capital continued to grapple with severe shortage of medical oxygen on Friday even after receiving emergency supplies. The Max Hospital-Saket on Friday morning sent out an SOS, saying it was left with “an hour’s oxygen supply” and over 700 patients admitted.

Two hours later, in a tweet, the hospital confirmed that it had received emergency supplies, which will “last another two hours”. “SOS – Less than an hour’s Oxygen supplies at Max Smart Hospital & Max Hospital Saket. Awaiting promised fresh supplies from INOX since 1 am. @drharshvardhan @msisodia @PMOIndia @ArvindKejriwal @PiyushGoyal @SatyendarJain over 700 patients admitted, need immediate assistance,” the Max Hospital had tweeted at 7.43 am.

According to the South Delhi DCP, a vehicle carrying oxygen reached Max Smart around 9 am and another vehicle was enroute. “Oxygen carrying vehicle has reached Max Smart. Another vehicle is enroute for Max East West. Senior Officers are monitoring the situation,” the police said on Twitter. Around 9.30 am, the Max Healthcare said it was awaiting more supplies.

“Update: We have received emergency supplies at Max Saket and Max Smart which will last another 2 hours. We are still awaiting more supplies,” it said.

Indian Spinal Injuries Centre in Vasant Kunj also posted on Twitter at 4.20 pm that it was left with only one hour of oxygen and asked for help at the earliest.

“Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, with 160 #Covid19 patients, are left with another 1 hour of Oxygen cylinder stock. We have been waiting for the supply since last night, but no luck so far. Please help us at the earliest. @PMOIndia @ArvindKejriwal,” it said.

Later in the evening, the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) managed to arrange 18 oxygen cylinders and devised a strategy to share one cylinder among two patients. “However, this was not enough and we were facing a grave crisis where we were about to run out of cylinder oxygen. Then we came out with the strategy of sharing one cylinder for two patients using connectors.

“Also we are now shifting the patients to the hospital’s central supply of oxygen and again with connectors, sharing one central supply connection with two patients. This should work for now. We are in constant touch with the government and our suppliers to ensure availability,” an ISIC official said..

A senior official of the Batra Hospital said the oxygen situation at their facility is extremely poor.
“We got a refill around 1 pm. After that, some more refill came from the Delhi government, which is actually pulling us through. We have around 2.5 metric tonnes which can last up to 8:30 pm. Our primary supplier isn’t responding to our calls. We hope that the Delhi government bails us out,” the official said.

Amid a serious oxygen crisis in the national capital, 25 “sickest” COVID-19 patients died at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here in the last 24 hours, officials said on Friday. Sources said “low pressure oxygen” could be the likely cause for the deaths. A central government source said the SGRH has “sufficient balance of oxygen and a tanker has reached the hospital, which will fill up the storage capacity”.

The tanker reached the hospital around 9.20 am. The stock can last up to five hours, depending on the consumption, an official at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said. Sources at the Holy Family hospital also told PTI that they had received emergency oxygen supply from the Delhi government but the “stock can last for six hours”.

AAP MLA Raghav Chadha said an additional vehicle carrying 20 D type oxygen cylinders was sent to the Holy Family hospital.

“Emergency cryogenic vehicle carrying liquid oxygen has reached Holy Family Hospital. An additional vehicle carrying 20 D type oxygen cylinders was previously sent to cater to interim requirement. Situation is grim but we are working tirelessly despite obstacles in oxygen supply,” Chadha tweeted.

Meanwhile, Dwarka-located Aakash Healthcare managed to refill their cylinders through small vendors across the city.

“We have succeeded to manage this time by refilling our oxygen cylinders from various small vendors in Delhi. We have just received a liquid oxygen tanker which will last for 14 hours,” said Dr Kousar A Shah, COO – Aakash Healthcare.

St Stephen’s hospital in Tis Hazari also said they had received a oxygen tanker in the morning.
With the coronavirus situation grim in the national capital, patients and their family members waited outside hospitals, hoping to get a bed.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had on Thursday had said beds would be increased in large numbers once the oxygen crisis was resolved. A government doctor said hospitals in Delhi are wary of admitting more patients amid a serious shortage of oxygen in the city.