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Two more deaths in Gurugram as hospitals grapple with low oxygen supply

Two critically ill Covid-19 patients who were on ventilator support at the Center of Diabetes and Allied Sciences (CDAS) died late Sunday evening due to oxygen shortage, according to the hospital management, which took the number of deaths due to oxygen shortage in the district to six, all reported over the last two days
By Leena Dhankhar, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON APR 26, 2021 11:45 PM IST

Two critically ill Covid-19 patients who were on ventilator support at the Center of Diabetes and Allied Sciences (CDAS) died late Sunday evening due to oxygen shortage, according to the hospital management, which took the number of deaths due to oxygen shortage in the district to six, all reported over the last two days.

Dr S Raghunandan, vice-president, CDAS, said that they alerted the local administration about the shortage two hours before the supplies ran low, but did not get any help. “A 60-year-old woman died at 8.25pm and a 61-year-old man died at 8.35pm on Sunday due to lack of oxygen. There was another death but that was not related to Covid,” said Dr Raghunandan.

“We are facing a huge problem due to shortage of oxygen supply. The local supplier has refused to supply. We are managing our operations with the minimum oxygen supply we can manage,” said Dr Raghunandan.

CDAS in Sector 47 has a capacity of 50 beds, of which 38 are occupied by Covid-19 patients.

Dr AK Kathuria, the owner of Kathuria Hospital, where four Covid-19 deaths were reported due to low oxygen on Sunday, said on Monday that the situation has not improved. “We are still struggling for oxygen cylinders and there is no help from the administration. My son who is also a doctor is struggling in queues to get the cylinders filled from Manesar. We are not even getting eight cylinders a day, whereas we require 25 in a day. Where is the oxygen going? This is a question we want to be answered,” he said.

Officials of the district administration refuted the allegations made by the hospital managements but admitted that there is a shortfall in oxygen supply.

Yash Garg, the deputy commissioner of Gurugram, said they have been delivering oxygen supply to all the hospitals and they have records of all the deliveries, but failed to share the same. “We were informed regarding the deaths later but we were not aware that the situation was grim and patients could die. The hospitals are creating pressure tactics. We are here to meet their need, not their greed. There is a WhatsApp group where all the private hospitals, nodal officer, chief medical officer (CMO) and Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) commissioner has been added and prompt action is taken on each request,” he said.

Garg said that at present, the district is receiving 35 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen, against a requirement of 50 MT. “We are adding more beds and will need more oxygen, for which we are trying to increase the supply through both plants in Panipat and Rajasthan,” he said.

Also, the district administration directed hospitals to report shortfall in supply at least six hours in advance, as it is not possible to respond to requests made an hour or less before the supply runs out.

Garg said, “We have asked private hospitals to inform us six hours in advance if they are facing a shortage of oxygen so that timely oxygen can be managed. We need this much time to arrange and send oxygen supply as it’s not readily available with us.”

The city has been grappling with a shortage in oxygen supply for the past 10 days amid a huge surge in coronavirus cases. Many hospitals on Monday also reported a shortage in oxygen and took to social media platforms, seeking immediate help from the district administration.

At 6.51pm on Monday, a Twitter user posted that Genesis Hospital in Sector 84 was running out of oxygen, with 12 to 13 patients requiring oxygen support.

Officials of Genesis Hospital could not be contact for comment on the matter.

Many family members of Covid-19 patients said they paid exorbitant amounts, up to 1.5 lakh, to get oxygen cylinders.

Dr Raghunandan of CDAS said, “We were standing in long queues on Monday to get oxygen cylinders but our demands are not met. The doctors at the hospital are running pillar to post to refill cylinders, leaving patients. We have never felt this helpless in our entire career.”

Many hospitals said that they have stopped new admissions due to lack of oxygen supply. “We have limited oxygen now and the situation is getting worse day by day. We are getting very less supply of oxygen and cannot run a hospital like this,” said a senior official of W Pratiksha Hospital in Sector 56.

“Issue continues with the oxygen supply. We are making our own arrangements on a daily basis,” said Dr Devlina Chakravarty, the managing director of Artemis Hospitals.

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