A worker keeps oxygen cylinders ready outside a Covid-19 Ward at Thane Civil Hospital, in Thane, Mumbai.(HT PHOTO)
A worker keeps oxygen cylinders ready outside a Covid-19 Ward at Thane Civil Hospital, in Thane, Mumbai.(HT PHOTO)

Deaths not linked to oxygen: Goa hospital dean

Dr Shivanand Bandekar said his hospital is a tertiary care centre where all referred cases come and where criticality is high.
By Gerard de Souza, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 16, 2021 12:34 AM IST

The dean of Goa Medical College and Hospital said on Saturday that the deaths that occurred in the hospital over the last five days were not necessarily linked to dropping oxygen levels.

Dr Shivanand Bandekar said his hospital is a tertiary care centre where all referred cases come and where criticality is high. “Most of the patients die because of Covid pneumonia where oxygen is part of the treatment. So, we cannot directly say this (disruption in oxygen supply) is the reason why they have died, because if you see their CT severity score, they were all more than 20 (very severe),” Bandekar said. “But how do we prove that the interruption has caused (the deaths) ... you are trying to correlate ... last night eight patients died between 2am and 6am (when there was no reported drop in the oxygen supply).”

The dean tried to explain how difficult the situation is, but also claimed that the hospital has risen to the challenge. “If you see the criticality of patients, I have 160 patients right now who are on ventilator, that’s why the consumption is more. The sudden spike had also brought a lot of surprises to us. We are trying to make that whole thing meet (ensure supply meets demand). We got concentrators in no time, we got cylinders, beds within no time and we are the centre where we cannot refuse any case,” Bandekar said, urging people to look at the “whole story”.

The hospital made news for the wrong reasons after oxygen levels dropped for six consecutive nights, allegedly resulting in 75 deaths over four days. The matter went to the High Court of Bombay at Goa where the state government declared on Friday that logistical issues, not supply shortage, had resulted in the drop in oxygen.

The health department has now claimed that with a new oxygen tank donated by a private player, the issue has been “sorted”. State health secretary Ravi Dhawan informed on Saturday that a cryogenic tank having the capacity of 20,000 litres of oxygen has been installed at the hospital, which will make the present system of supplying oxygen through trolleys redundant. “The supply of oxygen to this tank will be directly from the manufacturer M/s Praxair — the tank belongs to them. We should see a continuous supply of liquid medical oxygen through this tank as is done in all major hospitals anywhere,” Dhawan added.

The hospital said it has also shifted more than 350 patients to a newly commissioned block that already has a tank installed.

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