A total of 12,500 oxygen beds are being readied across Tamil Nadu, and they will be available by May 15, Medical Minister Ma. Subramanian said on Saturday.
Mr. Subramanian inspected the upcoming facilities for COVID-19 treatment at the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital. He said that besides these 12,500 beds, the Health Department proposed the creation of another 12,500 oxygen beds, at a meeting with Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. Measures would be taken immediately for adding these beds.
Nearly 250 additional oxygen beds would be ready at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital on Monday, he said.
Mr. Subramanian said Remdesivir was being sold only at the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, Chennai, and people from across the State were travelling there to buy the drug. “To reduce the hassles faced by people, Remdesivir will be sold in five more districts — Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem, Tirunelveli and Tiruchi. The drug has been sent to the districts, and will be up for sale soon,” he said.
With ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients queuing up outside hospitals, he said, patients were being triaged immediately. “ Beds are being provided within an hour of arrival,” he said.
Oxygen needs met
The oxygen needs of two private hospitals were met, thanks to the immediate action taken by officials, Mr. Subramanian said. “Two private hospitals informed us that their oxygen supply would last just three hours. The Health Secretary took immediate action and provided 10 cylinders to one hospital and 15 to the other hospital,” he said.
One of the hospitals in Chennai acknowledged that the timely intervention of officials helped it sustain supply to 10 patients.
“We have 10 patients on ventilator and about 30 on oxygen support. While the requirement is four tanks, the supplier said he could give only two tanks... We had no other option but to forcibly discharge the patients or let them collapse,” G.M. Ramasubramanian, managing director of Maya Hospital, told The Hindu .
The hospital sent an SOS on social media that if it did not get at least two oxygen tanks by 1 p.m. Saturday, the patients on ventilators would collapse. “On knowing about the crisis, IAS officer Darez Ahmed immediately organised oxygen cylinders,” he said.