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Friday, May 07, 2021

Oxygen dearth looms large; demand for home supply huge

On Friday, Galaxy Multispecialty Hospital in Antop Hill had to move six of its intensive care unit patients to KJ Somaiya Hospital after it ran out of oxygen cylinders.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
April 11, 2021 1:07:03 am
Thane Municipal Corporation, mumbai latest news, Oxygen deficiency, oxygen shortage in maharashtra, mumbai news, indian expressICU patients from Covid centre at Parking Plaza were shifted to Thane hospital after its oxygen supply got delayed. (Express Photo by Deepak Joshi)

Nursing homes and small hospitals are either discharging patients or referring them to other facilities as they run out of oxygen supplies.

On Friday, Galaxy Multispecialty Hospital in Antop Hill had to move six of its intensive care unit patients to KJ Somaiya Hospital after it ran out of oxygen cylinders.

Chirag Korgaonkar, whose father Shashikant Korgaonkar (69) was among those shifted, said: “The hospital called us up yesterday and said their supply was over. They arranged to shift my father to Somaiya Hospital. But my father requires a ventilator and all of Somaiya Hospital’s ventilators are occupied. So we are looking for another hospital with oxygen supply and ventilator facility,” he added.

On Saturday evening, the Thane Municipal Corporation had to shift 26 ICU patients from a Covid care centre in Parking Plaza to Thane Covid Hospital after its oxygen supply got delayed.

“There is shortage of oxygen everywhere. The situation is no different here. Since ICU patients require high oxygen flow, we didn’t want to take any risk. Once oxygen supply is restored, patients will be shifted back to our facility,” said Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Malvi.

Swastik Hospital, Chembur, has seven patients in ICU and is running low on oxygen supply. On Saturday, the hospital started calling up its patients’ kin to look for beds in other hospitals.

A hospital intensivist said: “We are planning to set up a liquid oxygen plant. For this, we have to shut our ICU.” The hospital has a 10-bed ICU facility but stopped new admissions as there was not enough oxygen to supply to all beds.

Alam Khan, an oxygen supplier in Mumbai, said requests for cylinders have doubled in the past one week. Mumbai is recording close to 10,000 new Covid-19 cases every day, of them 1,000-1,500 require oxygen. In Mumbai, 8,481 patients are currently on oxygen support in hospitals.

The rate of cylinders and oxygen concentrators has also risen in the city, from security deposit of Rs 3,000-5,000, people are now being asked to pay Rs 8,000-10,000 to rent a concentrator.

Vinod Naik, who tested Covid-19 positive, had to pay Rs 9,500 rent for an oxygen concentrator for home treatment on Friday. By Saturday, he got a bed at the NESCO centre. His relative said they will now donate the concentrator to someone else.

Phiroz Saleem from All India Health Care said the cost of refilling an oxygen cylinder has shot up from Rs 150-200 to Rs 700 in Mumbai. “Since people are not getting hospital beds and undergoing home treatment, the demand of oxygen cylinders, concentrators and BiPAP is huge now. There is shortage of liquid oxygen supply and we are unable to cater to all patients,” Saleem said.

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