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Friday, May 14, 2021

Delhi: Batra stops admissions, more hospitals sound alarm

Several other hospitals in the capital, too, continued to scramble for oxygen supplies with six of them, including two children’s facilities, saying they were left with barely a few hours of supply.

Written by Jignasa Sinha | New Delhi |
Updated: May 3, 2021 6:56:35 am
At an oxygen refilling centre. (PTI)

A day after 12 Covid patients, including a senior doctor, died after oxygen stocks at Batra Hospital in South Delhi’s Mehrauli ran out, authorities at the private facility said on Sunday that they were still struggling for supplies and have stopped new admissions.

Several other hospitals in the capital, too, continued to scramble for oxygen supplies with six of them, including two children’s facilities, saying they were left with barely a few hours of supply. Among them was Jaipur Golden Hospital, where 20 Covid patients had died last week after a drop in oxygen pressure.

The other hospitals that sought help were Vimhans and Triton Hospital in South East Delhi, Akash Hospital in Dwarka, and Sitaram Bhartia Hospital and Rainbow Madhukar Hospital in South Delhi. Some of them received supplies on an emergency basis from the Delhi government, while the others got their stocks at the last minute.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr Sudhanshu Bankata, executive director of Batra Hospital, said: “We have informed our patients and posted signs that we won’t be taking new admissions. We have also conveyed to the government that we can’t work with the limited supply of oxygen.”

The hospital, which was providing treatment to 327 patients, is planning to discharge several of them and bring the bed count down to 200-220. Previously, two Delhi government facilities, GTB Hospital and RGSS Hospital, had reduced the number of Covid beds because of oxygen shortage.

A Delhi government official said they are ready to start more temporary Covid facilities and add 1,000 beds in the city but have not been able to due to the oxygen shortage.

The Delhi government has claimed that it has not got its full allocation of 490 MT (increased to 590 MT later) on a single day since the crisis started. Several hospitals have had to turn away patients and send SOS messages to the government as well as post them on social media for oxygen supply.

Recalling Saturday’s incident at Batra Hospital, a senior doctor told The Indian Express: “We faced hell. I called the Additional Health Secretary, the CM’s office, Central government staff, everyone we knew. Half of them didn’t take our calls and the rest didn’t help us. We were supposed to get 7,000-8,000 litres but were left with 2,500 litres to survive. This supply also got exhausted.”

The hospital said there was no oxygen in the central supply machines from 12 noon to 1.15 pm Saturday. Apart from those dead, other critical patients faced “long term damage due to lack of oxygen”, the doctor said.

Dr S C L Gupta, medical director of the hospital, said: “We will only increase the bed count after we get a sufficient supply of oxygen regularly. We don’t want to struggle every day and make 50 calls for the supply. We have told the government that we’ll make do with the minimum supply.”

On Sunday, the hospital received 5,000 litres of liquid oxygen from Inox, a key supplier, and are in talks with other vendors from Haryana and Delhi to get a total of 3,000-5,000 litres every day. A medical officer told The Indian Express that the hospital administration had also tried to revert to being a “non-Covid” facility but their proposal was refused.

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