Coronavirus | Citing oxygen shortage, Lucknow hospital asks kin to shift critical patients

The administration of the Mayo Medical Centre put up a notice to draw the attention of the attendants

April 21, 2021 10:46 pm | Updated April 22, 2021 01:18 am IST - LUCKNOW

Relatives of COVID-19 patients admitted in a private hospital in Lucknow got a scare on Wednesday after the authorities, citing acute shortage of oxygen, allegedly asked them to shift the patients on oxygen support to other centres.

The administration of the Mayo Medical Centre put up a notice to draw the attention of the attendants. “After repeated requests to the UP CM/ Central government we are not able to get enough oxygen supply. Hence we are requesting family members of those patients who are on oxygen support, please take their patients to higher centre for further management,” read the notice.

The notice was widely shared on social media and also by the attendants.

Madhulika Singh, director of Mayo Hospital, confirmed that the hospital had put up the notice. After raising an alarm, the hospital got 80 cylinders through the State government and at present did not have a shortage, she said. The hospital has 117 COVID-19 patients and barring 27 all are on oxygen support.As a desperate measure, as the hospital was running out of oxygen, Ms. Singh said she got 20 cylinders transported to Mayo from her medical college in Barabanki district.

Given the high demand for oxygen, she said the slow process of refilling cylinders was causing a shortage in the hospital. It generally maintained 250-300 cylinders, but now required 400. “Vehicles have to wait for 12 hours to refill cylinders,” she said.

Also read: In Lucknow, a desperate search for a hospital bed

Mayo Hospital is not the only one in Lucknow running short of oxygen. Another city hospital Make Well also said it was running out of oxygen supply and requested family members of patients to shift them out to other centres.

Vinay Singh, owner of the hospital, said they had oxygen backup for only 3-4 hours and 43 patients to cater to.

He said they requested the government to give priority to COVID hospitals so they don't need to wait for six to seven hours for oxygen supply.


The government-run King George's Medical University said it had sent 70 jumbo oxygen cylinders to T.S Mishra Hospital and 10 cylinders to Mayo Hospital after they had an oxygen crisis on April 20.

Rashmi Chaudhary, a chartered accountant, told The Hindu she spotted the notice in the afternoon soon after she had deposited the medicine for her mother Pushpa (57), who is admitted in the ICU level 3 and is on BiPAP and NIV support. A high blood pressure patient, Ms. Pushpa was also diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia, she said.Ms. Chaudhary said after relatives protested,the district magistrate reached the spot and assured the people that oxygen supply was on its way. The notice was later removed by the hospital, she said.

Attendants said the hospital had later received oxygen supply, but it could not be independently verified.

However, Ms. Chaudhary is still anxious. “We don't know what the situation will be in future... What provisions they have to ensure that such a situation won't come up again,” she said.

A letter issued by the hospital administrator to the Chief Medical Officer, Lucknow, was also widely shared. The hospital said it was facing “acute shortage” of oxygen supply, which was severely hampering treatment of critical COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen support. The hospital could maintain a backup for only 15 minutes, as oxygen was not available anywhere in Lucknow, the administrator wrote.

The hospital said it had been assured that 400 cylinders would be provided to it daily, but the supply centres were not able to fulfil the demand. The hospital also asked the CMO to arrange for urgent shifting or transfer of patients and arrange continuous oxygen supply to the centre.

Prateek Sinha, whose mother has been in the ICU for the past week, got to know about the situation from his brother and father, both COVID-19 positive. “They got a call from the hospital informing them that oxygen stock is going to get over in 20 minutes and asked them to take the patient elsewhere because they were not getting help from the government,” said Mr. Sinha on phone from Pune.

His mother is on BiPAP support and requires eight litres of oxygen per minute, he said.

Ashutosh Dubey, the nodal officer listed by the State government for the Mayo Medical Centre, did not respond to phone calls.

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