A massive tragedy arising out of oxygen shortage was averted at a hospital in South Kolkata on Tuesday due to the joint efforts of the city police, healthcare workers and NGOs who arranged for oxygen cylinders for over 70 patients within the desired time. Doctors at Garia’s Remedy Hospital on Tuesday sent out an SOS message after they realised the oxygen supply at the hospital will run out after a snag hit the oxygen refill station at Domjur. The doctors sent frantic messages to everyone they knew about help regarding procuring oxygen cylinders. The hospital’s oxygen supply reportedly runs on cylinders which hadn’t yet arrived due to the delay at the refiling station, the Times of India reported.
The hospital also put calls through to the police and the health department, where an official reportedly said the doctor who spoke to them sounded in tears and begged to help them with oxygen cylinders or else the lives of 73 patients were at risk.
The commissioner of Kolkata Police Soumen Mitra also took a call at around 9:20pm about the emergency situation at the hospital and asked officials to help out. The police helped to arrange for 9 cylinders and apart from that, another 40 B-type cylinders were also arranged through the Baruipur Sub-divisional officer from oxygen manufacturer Linde. In addition to this, 13 cylinders were supplied by the Baruipur hospital and 10 by MR Bangur hospital respectively.
The entire process took some hours but by 3:30am, 65 oxygen cylinders had been delivered at the hospital. Hospital authorities said the supply had ran out around 11:15 pm and in case of further delay, the patients would have suffered.
“The demand for oxygen has gone up, causing a delay in refill. In addition, a snag had occurred at the plant, further delaying delivery,” TOI reported a hospital official as saying.
As hospitals in the country scramble to find oxygen supplies, good samaritans and social organisations are organizing to help wherever possible to assist citizens with this cause. A Kolkata Gurdwara has started an ‘oxygen langar’ to help provide necessary cylinders to patients.