COVID-19: Hospitals on edge over oxygen supply

A 100 oxygenated bed facility was inaugurated at Haj Bhavan COVID-19 Care Centre in Bengaluru on Saturday.

A 100 oxygenated bed facility was inaugurated at Haj Bhavan COVID-19 Care Centre in Bengaluru on Saturday.

While trains carrying precious life-saving cargo are arriving in Karnataka, hospitals continue to struggle to meet the demand for oxygen. Over the past few days, the civic body has been fielding SOS calls from several hospitals in the city desperate for oxygen.

At St John’s

Late Friday night, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) sent six tonnes of oxygen to St. John’s Hospital, which had over the past 10 days been stretched for oxygen supply. On Thursday, the hospital had 1,085 patients, but less than a day’s stock of oxygen. “We were desperate for oxygen supply on Friday night,” said a source.

BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that several hospitals have been sending out SOS messages on oxygen shortage. “We identified the issue in this case [St. John’s Hospital] and sorted it out by sending an oxygen tanker,” he said. According to Mr. Gupta, many other hospitals in the city are not in a position to store oxygen for more than four days.

As a result, hospitals are being forced to mobilise all their contacts to ensure that patients do not suffer. Many hospitals regularly face stressful moments waiting for refills with only two or three hours of oxygen supply left, said H.M. Prasanna, president, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA).

Last week, another hospital in north Bengaluru almost ran out of oxygen supply and got a refill when they had only one hour of supply left.

Smaller hospitals

Mr. Prasanna said that small and medium scale hospitals, which are dependent on oxygen cylinders or liquid oxygen, are struggling. “There has been an eight-fold increase in demand for oxygen, but our regular suppliers are able to meet only 30% of our requirement,” he said.

According to data provided by the State War Room, the consumption of oxygen on Friday was 828.45 MT across Karnataka. Bengaluru accounted for 285.43 MT.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2022 1:38:13 am |