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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

In Pimpri, 205 patients gasped for breath as oxygen tanker ‘diverted’

PCMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner Smita Zagade said Thursday the situation had turned scary last evening when the COVID Auto Cluster facility ran out of oxygen.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: April 23, 2021 1:50:51 am
The Auto Cluster facility every day requires at least 5 metric tonnes of oxygen. It has an oxygen tank with 10KL capacity.

Even as the Pune Zilla Parishad on Thursday denied the deaths of three COVID-19 patients attributed to shortage of oxygen at a private hopsital in Chakan, Pimpri-Chinchwad, as many as 205 COVID-19 patients were at high risk Wednesday when the oxygen tank at PCMC-run facility at Auto Cluster, Chinchwad, had almost run out of stock.

The emergency situation developed at the Auto Cluster facility Wednesday evening, where 205 COVID-19 patients were either on oxygen or ventilator support, as the tanker supplying oxygen failed to turned up. The oxygen manufacturer of the Chakan plant had apparently diverted oxygen to Buldhana on the directives of some bigwigs in the government, alleged government and civic officials.

PCMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner Smita Zagade said Thursday the situation had turned scary last evening when the COVID Auto Cluster facility ran out of oxygen. “The hospital doctors told us the oxygen stock for one hour was available and that the life of patients was in danger…” she said.

Zagade said the Divisional Commissioner, PCMC commissioner and FDA officials then made all-out efforts to get the oxygen supply from different manufacturers in Pune district and outside. “We finally managed to get the supply from the contractor who had earlier refused to provide us the oxygen…The oxygen tankers then landed up in the Auto Cluster facility by evening,” he said.

“A panic situation had ensued as the hospital gave us very little time to act… I had almost come to the point of breaking down, it was a scary situation. We wanted to save the lives of the patients under any cost and finally we succeeded in doing so,” she said.

Zagade said the private manufacturer who delivers oxygen at Auto Cluster conveyed his inability to supply the oxygen. “The manufacturer said he was taking the oxygen to Buldhana… We don’t know why he did so. He had been supplying the oxygen since the facility was set up in September. His sudden decision to stop supply was difficult to understand and was equally shocking,” she said.

Other senior PCMC officials said the manufacturer was apparently under pressure from the bigwigs in the government to divert the oxygen to Buldhana hospitals which were facing shortage.

Dr Amol Holkunde, the incharge at Auto Cluster facility, said,”The Chakan manufacturer every two days or as per the requirement provides us the oxygen tankers. On Wednesday, when the Chakan plant manufacturer conveyed inability to supply oxygen, we faced a big crisis. We had to then turn the oxygen supply to patients who did not require it or required less of it. Oxygen supply to those COVID patients who were in the process of discharge was also turned off. Likewise, we took a number of steps to save on the consumption of oxygen. As a result the oxygen supply lasted a few hours and finally we got the supply around 10.30 in the night.”

Dr Holkunde added,”If we had not used different techniques and ideas to save on the consumption of oxygen, anything could have happened. Yes, the depleting oxygen supply meant the lives of patients were in danger….But nothing untoward happened as the oxygen stock landed.

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The Auto Cluster facility every day requires at least 5 metric tonne of oxygen. It has a oxygen tank whose capacity is 10 KL.

Meanwhile, Zilla Parishad CEO Ayursh Prasad denied speculations that three COVID-19 patients died a private hospital in Chakan after the hospital ran out of oxygen. “There is no truth in it…However, we have launched a medical investigation into it to find out the exact cause of death,” he said.

BDO Ajay Joshi said,”As per prima facie report, one patient died of multi-organ failure and another had arrived late….Only audit of the deaths will help us to find out the exact reason. That is being done now.”

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