Kanpur hospitals also battle oxygen crisis

Published on Apr 20, 2021 12:51 AM IST

Like other parts of the state where cases of COVID-19 are rising, the crisis of oxygen, essential for treatment of positive patients, has reached a critical level in Kanpur

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HT Image
ByHaidar Naqvi, Kanpur

Like other parts of the state where cases of COVID-19 are rising, the crisis of oxygen, essential for treatment of positive patients, has reached a critical level in Kanpur.

The demand for oxygen in Kanpur hospitals is about 75 tons against the availability of 18-20 tons. Long queues of people could be witnessed outside the gas plants in hopes of getting a cylinder, the cost of which is 13,000 for a 10 litre one.

Only two types of cylinders are available, one is 4.5 litres for 9000 and other is 10 litres.

At one gas plant in Dada Nagar about 1000 people nearly broke into late on Sunday night. Worse is the oxygen kit has disappeared from the surgical and medical stores.

Enormity of crisis could be gleaned from the fact that most of the new Covid-19 hospitals are wary of admitting the patients. As of now four of them have started admitting while others continue to prepare for ‘admission’.

“How can we admit people when there is no oxygen available with us; we cannot admit people to die, who will be responsible?” one of hospital owners said on condition of anonymity.

“Oxygen suppliers are asking to bring cylinders for refill, they will not deliver. Pressure from officers on us is immense to admit but they aren’t able to provide oxygen,” said owner of another hospital.

A team from government and food and drug department inspected these hospitals on Monday to assess the requirement of oxygen. Last night Kanpur received just 20 tons from Rae Bareli, but doctors said it was not going to solve the problem at hands.

In LLR hospital on Sunday only 44 cylinders against 216 was given. The demand in the hospital is for 310 cylinders. “Never before I saw people pooling in money to bring oxygen concentrator to keep people alive, it happened in LLR,” said an employee.

Four people, according to him, allegedly died in the hospital for want of oxygen.

Three women who could not get admission in hospitals passed away as they could not get oxygen. One of them was Neelam Chaurasia, former chairperson of Ghatampur municipal body.

Her husband Ajay Chaurasia said the hospital ran out of oxygen and it could not be arranged. “I saw her dying every minute,” he said choking with emotions.

At present, Kanpur has 1340 beds, all of them are occupied, and another 890 are expected to be added once all the 19 new hospitals become functional.

The crisis worsened when the drug department diverted oxygen to nearby districts on Sunday all of sudden. Chief medical officer (CMO) Dr AK Mishra blamed drug department for exacerbating the problem. He said FIR would be lodged after identifying the people for the goof up.

Drug inspector Sandesh Kumar Maurya said the efforts were underway to maintain a good back up of oxygen. The industrial oxygen suppliers have been asked to provide it to the hospitals.

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