Mumbai civic body prepares to avoid oxygen emergencies

ByEeshanpriya MS and Mehul Thakkar, Mumbai
Apr 24, 2021 12:23 AM IST

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to prepare a ward-wise chart of pvt hospitals, oxygen suppliers, quantity of available oxygen; to share it with FDA.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for hospitals to follow to prevent emergencies due to shortage in oxygen availability. BMC also said that oxygen is available in all hospitals in Mumbai, but asked hospitals to use it efficiently.

HT Image
HT Image

The current demand of oxygen in Mumbai is between 240 metric tonnes and 250 metric tonnes a day. Oxygen storage in city hospitals is replenished every day from two suppliers — Inox and Linde. While municipal hospitals have their own large or mega storage facilities where oxygen is replenished every day or twice a day, depending on demand, private hospitals purchase it directly from suppliers in the market, or can approach BMC from time-to-time in case of emergency.

BMC, in its SOP, has asked chief engineers of mechanical and electrical department to prepare a ward-wise data chart of private hospitals, their oxygen suppliers, and quantity of available dura, jumbo and small oxygen cylinders at the hospital. This list will be shared with BMC’s ward war rooms and Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Covid control room.

Each hospital has to inform their oxygen supplier of the demand 24 hours in advance, or as per their agreement (whichever is earlier). If the supplier does not delivered oxygen within next 16 hours, hospitals have to inform the BMC control room, following which BMC will try to contact the supplier and make oxygen available to the hospital. If it cannot be done within two hours, BMC will inform the FDA control room, which will try to get oxygen delivered from the supplier to the hospital. If this cannot happen in two more hours, FDA will inform the divisional coordinating officer to make oxygen available to the private hospital.

Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal told HT, “I had informed all hospitals last week itself to conduct an audit of oxygen supply system, oxygen storage and other related things.”

On April 21, HJ Doshi Ghatkopar Hindu Mahasabha Hospital in Ghatkopar informed BMC around 5pm that it had oxygen left to last only till 6.30pm. At the time, all 61 patients were on oxygen support. BMC’s N ward delivered 15 jumbo oxygen cylinders and S ward delivered nine jumbo oxygen cylinders to the hospital by 6.15pm, restoring its supply and backup. Meanwhile, the private supplier associated with the hospital also provided four oxygen cylinders. BMC also had ambulances on stand-by in case patients needed to be shifted from the hospital.

The next day, BMC officials from N ward held an emergency meeting with the hospital administration and chalked out a plan for setting up oxygen storage facility in its premises, to ensure such a situation does not arise again.

Dr Mohan Joshi, dean of Sion hospital, told HT, “Sion hospital has an oxygen storage facility with an original capacity of 15 MT. We doubled this capacity during the pandemic. Oxygen storage is replenished every day or twice a day, as need arises. But we have do not ever exhaust our full storage capacity. In fact, our buffer storage can ensure we will have enough supply to last all patients even if supply is not filled for a day.”

P Velarasu, additional municipal commissioner (projects) who created the SOP, said, “Even for suppliers to augment supply to BMC, we are looking for new sources of oxygen procurement.”

A spokesperson from LH Hiranandani Hospital said, “We procure our own oxygen from the market.”

Dr Bhavik Patel, assistant manager medical operations, Bhatia Hospital in Grant Road, said, “In such a crisis, supply of oxygen is challenging and we formed a strategy to combat it. We, along with our supply vendor, started to monitor the levels on an hourly basis, which helped us avoid shortage as we have enough buffer time in placing orders and getting delivery. We also kept a manifold system which gives back up for six hours. Also, we changed focus on reducing oxygen consumption in our hospital. This was done by us as we are postponing elective surgeries and elective diagnostic procedures which contributed sustainably in daily oxygen consumption.”

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