Covid-19: UP govt gave Kanpur hospitals 42 ventilators, 28 returned for being defective
The ventilators were manufactured by a private company and their engineers tried to fix the machines but failed, said health authoritiesUpdated: Sep 19, 2020, 14:29 IST
Of the 42 ventilators provided by the Uttar Pradesh government for Covid care in Kanpur only last month, at least 28 ventilators were found riddled with glitches. These are now being returned amid fears that using them could harm patients’ lungs.
This comes at a time when Level 3 -- where critical patients are treated-- and Level 2 -- where patients will mild symptoms are treated-- hospitals are anyway struggling with beds and ventilators as the number of patients continues to surge. The ventilators were manufactured by a private company and their engineers tried to fix the machines but failed, said health authorities.
Dr Richa Giri, superintendent in chief at the government-run Lala Lajpati Rai Hospital, said, “The company engineers worked for several days to fix them. They (the ventilators) are being returned now and a proposal would be sent for the new ones. We have made the engineers’ report available to the government.” LLR Hospital is the only hospital in the city where critically ill Covid patients are treated.
Out of the 42 ventilators, 34 were for LLR Hospital and the remaining for Kanshiram Memorial Trauma Centre, a Level 2 Covid1-9 facility.
Initially, all the ventilators at LLR could not be operated because of technical difficulties and the absence of supporting equipment. The ventilators were kept in the anaesthesia department, said health officials. The LLR administration wrote to the company several times and a team of two engineers was sent.
The team managed to repair 14 ventilators, but could not rectify the others and declared them ‘condemned’. A health official said these ventilators could harm Covid patients.
Similarly, eight ventilators at Kanshiram Hospital were marked as ‘useless’ by the engineers. Chief medical superintendent Dr Dinesh Sachan confirmed that the ventilators were not working.
Sources said there were serious issues with the software and the valves of the ventilators, which could double the oxygen supply rate and damage the cells in the lungs. In addition, most of the ventilators did not have humidifier kits without which they could not be run, they said.
The kit is essential as it provides moisture to the patients breathing through it. The process helps in doing away with the dryness and clearing throat and lung congestion.
LLR Hospital has 30 ventilators at the neuro Covid wards, which has a capacity of 90 ICU beds. Health authorities are not forthcoming as to when new ventilators would arrive to ease the immense pressure on the existing lot.