Oxygen should be used judiciously, there should be no leakage: AIIMS director
AAs hospitals across India are reporting a shortage of oxygen to treat critical patients of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Monday that it has to be used judiciously and hospitals must ensure there is no leakage of the gas.
Addressing a press briefing along with the official of the Union health ministry, Guleria said, “At present, there is an unnecessary panic created among people. If people test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic and their oxygen saturation is normal, they hospitalise themselves with a fear that they might need oxygen or a hospital bed in the future. Due to this, there is a huge rush outside hospitals and genuine patients suffer as they are unable to get proper treatment. Such assumptions are wrong.”
Guleria also said that oxygen is an important treatment strategy for the Covid-19 disease and its misuse is also an important factor. He advised there is no need for people to take it if their oxygen saturation is above 94. “There is no point in using oxygen if your saturation is at 94 or 95 and further take it to 98 or 99. This is a misuse. We should ensure there is no misuse of the gas as it will be needed for some other person with saturation less than 90,” he added.
Reiterating the fact that the antiviral drug Remdesivir does not save the lives of Covid-19 patients, the AIIMS director said the benefits of the drug are not well-established and cited a study from the United States which pointed out Remdesivir might reduce hospital stay but there is no mortality benefit from it.
India’s Covid-19 disease caseload on Monday breached the 17 million mark after a record jump of 352,991 new cases was recorded in the last 24 hours. More than 2800 people succumbed to the disease during the same period, taking the death toll to 195,123 while 14,304,382 have recovered so far.
With the oxygen crisis deepening in the country day by day, the Centre is undertaking measures to ramp up its supply such as banning its non-medical use, transporting oxygen tankers through the Indian Railways’ Oxygen Expresses and taking help from countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, European Union.
During the health ministry’s press conference, an additional secretary of the Union home ministry Piyush Goyal said the Centre is ordering oxygen tankers from abroad on a purchase or hiring basis and also using real-time tracking to monitor its movement.