Delhi hospitals plead for oxygen as more patients
Delhi: Hospitals in Delhi continued to send desperate messages for emergency oxygen supplies through the night on Sunday, warning that patients are at risk.
Moreover, the crisis started two weeks ago but shows no signs of abating. At least 12 patients, including a doctor, died when a prominent hospital ran out of oxygen on Saturday. Outside hospitals, families of patients who can’t find a bed is struggling to get hold of portable cylinders.
Several big hospitals in Delhi are relying on daily oxygen supplies but they are not getting enough to keep some as a backup in case of emergency. One doctor described the situation as frightening, explaining. Once you’ve used up your main tank, there is nothing to fall back on.
While the situation is worse still in small hospitals that don’t have storage tanks and have to rely on big cylinders. And the oxygen crisis comes as coronavirus cases continue to surge. Delhi alone reported more than 20,000 new infections and 407 deaths on Sunday.
India, meanwhile, over the weekend recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began. And became the first country to register more than 4,00,000 new cases in a single day.
It’s a battle every day;
Dr. Gautam Singh, who runs the Shri Ram Singh hospital, says he has 50 Covid beds and space for 16 ICU patients. But has had to refuse admissions as there is no guarantee of oxygen supply.
While he has put out a number of SOS calls in the past few days, getting oxygen just in time to avoid disaster. It’s a battle we are fighting every day, he says. Half of my hospital staff are on the road with cylinders to get them filled every day, going from one place to another.
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Dr. Singh says the possibility of patients dying without oxygen in the hospital stops him from sleeping. I should be concentrating on treating my patients, and not running around to get the oxygen he says. Other hospital owners are also facing the same ordeal.
One woman whose family runs a hospital in Delhi says there was no coordination among the authorities when the crisis started. For those few days, we had no idea who was the relevant person to contact and who had the authority to resolve the issue, she recalls.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has repeatedly said that the city was not getting enough oxygen from the federal government. Which allocates oxygen quotas to states. Federal officials say there is no shortage of oxygen, but that the challenge has come from transportation.
‘We have set up a war room’
In the face of the crisis, concerned citizens have been stepping in to help out those in distress. Among the famous faces, lending support is a social activist and politician Tehseen Poonawalla, politician Dilip Pandey, activist, and politician Srinivas B V and actor Sonu Sood.
Mr. Poonawalla has been helping small hospitals when they are about to run out of oxygen. He says he is connecting those in need with those who are in a position to help.
The government needs to step in and take charge because people like me don’t have infinite resources to help every person or hospital in need. The woman whose family runs a hospital in Delhi echoed these concerns.