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Maharashtra’s largest government-run hospital to commission oxygen generating plant

Once completed, the plant will be able to generate 2,000 litres per minute, catering to the needs of at least 200 Covid patients requiring oxygen support. The hospital currently has two liquid oxygen tanks with capacities of 15 kilolitres and 13 kilolitres each.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
April 22, 2021 10:56:20 am
Erratic supply of medical oxygen has been a cause of concern at many hospitals in the state. (Express Photo by Arul Horizon)

As healthcare facilities across the country struggle to meet the medical oxygen demand, Maharashtra’s largest government-run Sassoon General Hospital has decided to commission its own oxygen generating plant.

Once completed, the plant will be able to generate 2,000 litres per minute, catering to the needs of at least 200 Covid patients requiring oxygen support. The hospital currently has two liquid oxygen tanks with capacities of 15 kilolitres and 13 kilolitres each.

Hospital administrator S Chockalingam said that the plant will use the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) method to generate oxygen.

Erratic supply of medical oxygen has been a cause of concern at many hospitals in the state.

Dr Sanjay Patil, Chairman of the Hospital board of India, Pune chapter, admitted that the oxygen availability was fast posing to be a problem. “Several small hospitals who had offered their services to treat Covid patients are unsure about the uninterrupted supply of oxygen,” Dr Patil said. According to Dr Joshi, the number of smaller hospitals treating Covid patients has fallen from 470 to 380 due to the uncertainty surrounding oxygen supply.

At large hospitals such as Ruby Hall Clinic, medical superintendent Dr Avdhut Bodamwad said that alarm bells start ringing if their supply goes below ten metric tonnes. “Last week we faced some challenges at our Hinjewadi branch but were able to meet the demand by drawing on the oxygen supply from our main Ruby hall clinic,” he said.

Sahyadri Hospitals chief operating officer Abrari Dalal said that currently their oxygen requirement was around 6,000 cubic metres across its hospitals at Deccan, Kothrud, Hadapsar, Bibwewadi, Nagar road and others. “Till now we have somehow been able to manage our requirements and we are hoping that regular supply resumes,” Dalal said.

According to Dr Madhur Rao, senior deputy medical administrator at KEM hospital, they judiciously use their oxygen stock. “To ensure constant supply of oxygen for our patients we also go a little easy on high flow nasal oxygen therapy as per the guidelines of the Covid task force,” Dr Rao admitted.

Oxygen saturation in the blood below the level of 94 is a cause for concern for people suffering from Covid-19. If it falls below a specific threshold and shortness of breath progresses to an acute condition, then oxygen therapy is required.

Dr Aniket Joshi, a consulting physician treating Covid patients at Hardikar, Harjeevan and other hospitals, said the situation has become very difficult. “Any break in the oxygen supply can lead to a casualty and some smaller health care facilities have now stopped admission. Critical cases are being referred to larger hospitals,” Dr Joshi said.

Pune district has more than a lakh active cases of Covid 19.

In PMC areas there are as many as 51,920 active Covid cases. A total of 6,235 persons are on oxygen support while 1,314 are critical.

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