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Coronavirus | U.P. hospitals struggling with oxygen supply

COVID patients getting free oxygen, by a Sikh organization at Indirapuram Gurdwara, in Ghaziabad, Saturday, April 24, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

At least two hospitals, including one for non-COVID-19 patients, in Gorakhpur on Saturday said they were struggling to maintain uninterrupted flow of oxygen supply, jeopardising the lives of those under critical care.

Durgawati Hospital in Barhalganj, 60 km from Gorakhpur city, where five patients died in two days, said it had to “slow down” the flow of oxygen for some patients as there was a delay in replenishing oxygen supply. The 110-bed hospital currently has 28 COVID-19 patients.

Manoj Yadav, surgeon and owner of Durgawati Hospital, told The Hindu that they had a daily demand for 80 cylinders but the supply was reduced to 50-60 cylinders. The main problem for the hospital was logistical, said Mr. Yadav. Since Barhalganj is 60 km from Gorakhpur, the long lines at the refilling station, long waiting time, under construction highway and slow traffic caused unexpected delays, he said.

“In anticipation, as the delay gets longer, we become more anxious thinking, what if the vehicle doesn’t reach on time?” he said.

Also read: Ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen, says Yogi Adityanath

There were reports that three patients died in Durgawati Hospital and four others in Shahi Global Hospital, both privately-run, due to shortage of oxygen supply over the last 24 hours. Mr. Yadav refuted the reports about the alleged interruption in oxygen supply but admitted that while the oxygen supply was “not completely shut”, they did have to “slow down” the supply for a while when the refilling vehicle was not on time. “We were scared,” he said.

Five patients had died at the hospital over the last two days, he said but maintained it was not due to any stoppage in oxygen supply. “We have 12 patients on BiPAP. If oxygen was shut even for a while, they would have all died,” he said.

Also read: Citing oxygen shortage, Lucknow hospital asks kin to shift critical patients

After sending an SOS to the administration, the hospital managed to get 40 oxygen cylinders and was promised another 80, he said.

Repeated calls to Shahi Global Hospital and its owner Shiv Shankar Shahi went unanswered.

D.K. Rai, owner of New Shivay Hospital, which has non-COVID-19 patients, said his establishment was facing shortage of oxygen and was asking patients to look elsewhere. The hospital’s daily requirement of 20-40 cylinders had been gradually reduced to five, and since Friday evening they had not received any cylinders, he said.

Also read: ‘Lack of timely care hurting patients in U.P.’

The hospital has 25 patients, including 20 requiring oxygen support.

“After struggling through the night, when my resolve gave way, with folded hands I asked the patients’ kin to arrange something elsewhere," said Mr. Rai, adding that the hospital had only three oxygen cylinders running in line.

Zubair, an Assistant Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, was among the attendants anxiously waiting for oxygen replenishment as his mother is in critical care in urgent need of oxygen.

“Her oxygen levels are very low. It falls below 80 without support,” said Mr. Zubair, who is now desperately trying to arrange oxygen from a nearby town. His mother’s RT-PCR test was negative but she had COVID-19 symptoms, he said, adding that this was the third hospital they had come to.

Priyanshu Shukla, a B.Sc. student, was also worried for his uncle, who had been admitted to the hospital from Deoria on Friday. “He has breathing problems. There was oxygen here till last evening but we are unable to get it now,” he said.

Additional District Magistrate, Gorakhpur city, Rakesh Kumar Srivastava said there was no shortage of oxygen supply nor any delay in supplying it to any hospital.

“We have sufficient oxygen for everyone,” he said. When asked if hospitals were approaching the administration with requests for urgent replenishment, Mr. Srivastava said, “When they request, we replenish it.”

He dismissed reports that there were deaths due to lack of oxygen supply in Durgawati Hospital.

Uttar Pradesh recorded 38,055 new cases and 223 new deaths, with 42 deaths and 5,461 new cases in Lucknow. Gorakhpur recorded two new deaths and 1,344 new cases, according to the State Health Department. On Friday, Gorakhpur had 922 new cases and eight deaths.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 1:22:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-up-hospitals-struggling-with-oxygen-supply/article34402996.ece

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