Delhi hospitals short of breath amid rising demand for oxygen

Several hospitals raise alarm, say their supplies will last only a few hours

Tension regarding supply of oxygen continued in the Capital on Sunday with several hospitals raising alarm that they had supply to last only for a few more hours.

The Delhi government scrambled to rush reserve supplies to ensure that no more deaths occurred in the Capital due to lack of oxygen. While hospitals like Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, which had made frantic requests late on Saturday, received oxygen in the wee hours, Lok Nayak Hospital received supply within hours of raising an alarm on Sunday morning.

The Jaipur Golden Hospital that reported 20 deaths amid shortage of the life-saving gas on Friday, raised an alarm yet again to help its 205 patients, out of which 60 were in a critical condition on Sunday evening and emergency supply reached within a few hours.

The head of Shri Ram Singh Hospital and Heart Institute, also posted a video message on social media, requesting an oxygen refill for his 100-bed healthcare facility in east Delhi.

The Saroj Super Speciality Hospital said that it had been allocated 2.5 MT of oxygen every 24 hours against its requirement of 4.5 MT daily.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital received oxygen supply at 4.15 a.m. after raising an alarm on Saturday night that it had enough oxygen for its 130 patients in the ICU, including 30 on invasive ventilation for only an hour more. A little past midnight, the hospital received one metric tonne of oxygen that saw them tide through the night.

A hospital spokesperson said, “Five metric tonnes of oxygen was received at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital at 4.15 a.m… supplied by INOX. It should last for 11-12 hours. Oxygen running in full pressure after a long time.”

The Lok Nayak Hospital also said that they had received cryogenic tanker at around 10 a.m. with oxygen. The hospital added that it had been running on back-up stocks that would have lasted only two more hours when the tanker arrived, an official said.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is the nodal minister for COVID-19 management in Delhi, urged hospitals in Delhi not to raise alarms unnecessarily over oxygen shortage and appealed to the media to verify claims before reporting. He said that such acts hamper efforts to provide help to hospitals that really need assistance.

“This morning, I got an SOS call from a hospital that had 18 kilo litres of oxygen in stock,” he tweeted. The hospital requires 4.8 kl a day and has a storage capacity of 21 kl, meaning it still has three days of supply left, the Mnister said.

He added that another small hospital raised an alarm, but it was later found that it had been given 30 cylinders, out of which 20 were still to be used.

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