Private hospitals hit hard by oxygen shortage in Kasaragod

The oxygen war room and COVID control room in Ernakulam.   | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

The private hospitals in Kasaragod are reeling under oxygen shortage due to a huge demand that has arisen following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.

None of the government or private hospital in the district has in-situ oxygen production systems and it is heavily dependent on the oxygen cylinder. With a surge in the number of COVID cases, authorities fear this may lead to a similar crisis faced in many parts of north India.


A day after two private hospitals in the district were forced to shift the patients to other hospitals due to oxygen shortage, another hospital on Tuesday faced a severe crisis of oxygen.

Aramana Hospital and Heart Center, a private hospital, were left with no oxygen cylinders. The hospital is treating 10 COVID-19 patients and also has several heart patients on ventilators.


Dhanraj, general manager, Aramana Hospital and Heart Center said they were left with just 4 cylinders on Monday and it was exhausted by Tuesday morning. They had borrowed the cylinders from another private hospital and were desperately trying for the cylinder.

Even though the requirement was informed at oxygen war room on Monday itself, there was no supply, he claimed. Later, four cylinders were supplied from the Kanhangad district hospital after it became an issue, Mr. Dhanraj said.

Though there are six COVID-19 patients who need oxygen support, there are others who require oxygen post-heart surgery, he added.

Kasaragod Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) Sunrise Hospital, which faced a severe oxygen shortage and had to shift the patients to other hospitals on Monday, said that they are regularly updating the requirement in the Jagartha portal and informing it to the oxygen war room. However, there is an inordinate delay in getting the cylinder.

A.V. Krishnan, manager of KIMS said their vehicle is parked before the Balco plant in Kannur to take the oxygen cylinders since Monday. However, they are yet to get the order.

Earlier when there was a shortage of supply from Kannur, they procured it from Mangaluru. But the shortage has arisen after Mangaluru suspended the Oxygen supply, he added.

"We have updated the requirement of 40 cylinders in COVID-19 Jagrath portal. But it is yet to arrive," he observed.

Pradeep, manager, E.K. Nayanar Cooperative hospital said that they have no stock of oxygen cylinders left for the patients on Tuesday.

He said that they were forced to shift four patients to Mangalore, while there are 11 COVID-19 patients who are on oxygen support.

They managed to get on Tuesday 15 cylinders after waiting for 24 hours at the Kannur plant. Soon these cylinders would get over, he said and added that the hospital does not have centralised oxygen system in place.

Many other private hospitals expressed that if there is nothing is done on a war footing to address the issue, there would be a situation similar to that in several parts of north India.

However, the health department assured that the issue would be sorted out soon.

A senior health official on conditions of anonymity said the shortage in private hospitals is arising as they are not properly updating the requirement of cylinders in COVID-19 Jagratha portal.

"Many hospital are simply texting the requirements on the mobile. The hospitals have to register and get approval. They have to update all the information including the number of patients, beds occupied, cylinders needes.

The hospital should anticipate the requirement and place them on Jagratha poral. However, many hospitals are doing it, he added.

A.T. Manoj, Kasaragod District Surveilance Officer, said that there is enough stock to meet the requirement in government hospitals. He said they have a total of 376 oxygen cylinders as on Tuesday.  About 400 cylinders from Kozhikode are expected to arriave on Wednesday and another 100 has been required as a buffer stock, he said.

According to District Collector D. Sajith Babu, there is a requirement of 370 numbers of D type (7000 litres capacity) cylinders immediately for 147 oxygen beds in the government hospitals, while the private hospital requires 97 D types. But the Balco plant in Pappinesseri is able to supply only 80 to 100 cylinders, whereas the private hospitals, who were getting cylinders from Mangaluru has been completely stopped.

Meanwhile, the appointed MLA NA Nellikunnu has written a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asking him to take effective action to solve the oxygen shortage in Kasargod.

He said that Oxygen, which can only be used for hours at present, is left in many private hospitals. This is a serious situation and patients may die if the situation continues.

Mr. Nellikunnu said the intervention of the Chief Minister is inevitable in the situation.

Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 12:30:50 AM |

Next Story