Oxygen shortage allegedly killed 12 Covid-19 patients, including the HOD of the gastroenterology department of Batra Hospital in Delhi, on Saturday.
“Once a patient is pushed to the edge without the support of oxygen, it is very difficult to revive him. Unfortunately, we are expecting more fatalities," said Sudhanshu Bankata, executive director of the hospital. R K Himthani, head of the gastroenterology department, was among those who died due to lack of oxygen, said S C L Gupta, medical director of the hospital. Himani had been admitted to the hospital for the last 15-20 days, he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed grief over the incident. “This news is very painful. Their lives could have been saved — by giving them oxygen on time. Delhi should get its quota of oxygen. Can’t see our people dying like this. Delhi needs 976 tonnes of oxygen, but it received only 312 tonnes yesterday. How will Delhi breathe in such a less amount of oxygen?" he said on Twitter in Hindi.
Meanwhile, the hospital had sent out an SOS message about oxygen shortage on Saturday. Gupta said they had informed the authorities about lack of oxygen Saturday morning when they had 2,500 litres of the life-saving gas left.
Around 12.30 pm, the hospital authorities claimed they had run out of oxygen. The oxygen tanker arrived at 1.35 pm, they said, adding that they were without oxygen for 80 minutes. In a related development, Fortis Hospital in Vasant Kunj has stopped taking admissions due to oxygen shortage. The hospital has four hours of oxygen left, sources said.
According to the Delhi Corona mobile application, the hospital has 106 coronavirus patients. Meanwhile, Sehgal Neo hospital in Meera Bagh sent out an SOS message on Twitter about its dwindling oxygen.
“We request urgent assistance in getting #SOSoxygen. We are running out of our backup supply, and have been waiting for a supply since early morning. We have 90 patients on O2 & 13 in ICU," the hospital tweeted around 12.40 pm. Hospitals across the national capital and its suburbs have been sending out desperate messages of help on social media and other platforms, flagging their dwindling stocks of oxygen.
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital had last week reported the death of 25 of its sickest patients as the administration struggled with depleting oxygen supplies. Twenty people died at the Jaipur Golden Hospital last week amid a shortage of oxygen.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had on Friday said that not for a single day has Delhi been able to receive the allocated quantity of 490 MT of oxygen.