Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid India: Low oxygen stock could endanger lives of babies, children

Web report/New Delhi
Filed on May 5, 2021
Workers of a wholesale supplier load medical oxygen cylinders in a car that are to be transported to hospitals. Photo: AFP

Delhi hospital has about 10 babies in ICU with just one backup oxygen cylinder.

Three hospitals in Delhi, including two for babies and children, are facing the grim challenge of low oxygen stock, which could endanger the lives of patients.

Triton hospital, which has about 10 babies in its neonatal ICU, had just one backup oxygen cylinder left on Tuesday. “We have 10-12 babies in the NICU and almost all of them require oxygen,” said Dr Deepali Gupta of the hospital.

“Currently, we have only one backup cylinder left, apart from the one connected to the central oxygen system.

For the past one week, every day has been like this and we have to send SOS to get oxygen.”

Later during the day, it got three type D cylinders from the government, but they could not be filled up. Remarked another hospital executive at night: “Right now we have oxygen to last till around 12.30 a.m. We are yet to get more cylinders and we are in touch with the authorities. But we are really hoping that the system of oxygen supply gets streamlined soon.”

Another hospital, which has about a hundred patients including 18 newborns, and which is facing a shortage of oxygen is Madhukar Rainbow children’s hospital. Four of its patients were on ventilator needing oxygen. “They will not survive without oxygen,” Dinesh Vashist, vice-president, operations, was quoted around 11 pm on Tuesday. “Our stock will last only for another hour and we are in touch with the Delhi government for oxygen supply.” It did get some oxygen around midnight.

A third hospital that saw a crisis-like situation was the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, which warned that the lives of 160 Covid-19 patients were at risk. “Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, with 160 Covid19 patients and all requiring 24*7 oxygen support, are left with another 25 mts of Liquid Medical Gas. Immediate help is being requested. Please help us at the earliest as lives of 160 patients is at stake,” the hospital tweeted.

Though it got some oxygen later in the day by Tuesday evening the problem surfaced again. The oxygen would be used by midnight Tuesday.

“It’s a daily struggle to get oxygen,” bemoaned a hospital spokesperson.

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