Updated: May 12, 2021 7:30:38 pm
Last month, a 68-year-old Covid-19 patient, who also suffered from kidney failure, suddenly found her oxygen saturation level dropping to a dangerous 50 per cent around midnight. Her family, including her son Dilip Malik, called up several hospitals but could not get a bed for her.
“One of my friends gave me the number of an organisation which provides free medical oxygen cylinders at the residence of patients. I called them up and in no time, the oxygen cylinder was at our doorstep,” said Malik, a resident of Lohegaon.
The youth, who came with the oxygen cylinder, also helped put the patient on oxygen support. “Within minutes, my mother’s oxygen level went up to 95 per cent,” said Malik. His mother was taken to the Command Hospital in the morning.
Somnath Tambe, a resident of Wagholi, said his mother, who has a heart condition and asthma, also tested positive for Covid-19 a few days ago. “She recovered and was discharged from the hospital after 15 days. We used to get an oxygen cylinder for her at our home from a private party. One day the cylinder ran out of oxygen. Despite our best efforts, we could not find an oxygen cylinder anywhere in the city throughout the day. My mother’s condition was worsening by the minute. It was then someone gave me a number of this particular organisation. I contacted them and got a cylinder from them. I must say that had they not provided me a cylinder, we would have faced a tragedy,” he said.
For Covid positive patients isolated at home or recovered patients recuperating at home, a group of Pune residents, working under the banner of Buddhojirao Mulik Foundation, are rushing forth with oxygen cylinders to help them breathe easy. The youngsters claim that they have reached out to at least 50 patients in distress in less than a month.
“And we have attended to at least 20 emergency cases,” says Prashant Jagtap, who is leading the group.
Jagtap said he and his friends wanted to do something for Covid-19 patients in Pune who were struggling to find oxygen beds. They decided to buy cylinders of medical oxygen to help these patients.
They purchased 36 cylinders, some of them weighing 7 kilos, each costing Rs 18,000. The amount was paid from the money for Jagtap’s brother Sourabh’s wedding. “We were planning to spend over Rs 3 lakh for his wedding. Instead, we decided to use the money for purchasing the oxyen cylinders and reaching out to patients in distress,” he said.
Jagtap said the Foundation has a bunch of youngsters who have undergone training on how to fix the cylinders at the patient’s home and explain to them how to use them judiciously.
The Foundation works round the clock. “We provide oxygen cylinders till the doorstep of the patient. The families of the patients need not search and rush to us. I provide my own car to carry the cylinders. Sometimes, we carry them in auto-rickshaws or other vehicles. We don’t charge a single paisa… we believe at times like these, when some citizens are desperately in need, we as responsible citizens are duty-bound to reach out to the maximum patients possible,” he said.
Some of the group’s other key members include Avinash Pothwade, Viswajit Potekar and Dattatray Jadhav.
Jagtap said they have so far reached out to patients in PMC and PCMC areas as well as in rural parts of the district. “We get calls at odd hours, but we don’t mind reaching out to them if we can save their lives,” he said, adding that they will keep working for patients till the pandemic gets over.
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