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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Pune: Oxygen supply crisis puts Sassoon hospital on tenterhooks

Authorities go into emergency mode, get tank refilled till wee hours, shift 20-25 Covid patients.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: April 24, 2021 9:20:11 pm
Sassoon hospitalOxygen consumption at the Sassoon hospital has gone up to 30-32 kilo litre per day. (File)

Around 20-25 Covid patients were shifted from Sassoon General Hospital’s multi-specialty building to another one on its premises late on Friday evening.

Authorities at the state’s largest government hospital went into an emergency mode as they feared the buffer stock of oxygen would not last till the next supply rolls in.

Oxygen consumption at the hospital has gone up to 30-32 kilolitres per day. “We are keeping no stone unturned to ensure regular supply of oxygen. The tanker comes twice a day so that we have sufficient buffer stock. However, on Friday evening, an 8-KL tanker came and we were not sure whether the buffer stock would last till Saturday morning. We had expected a bigger tanker of 16KL. This was routine filling of oxygen in our two separate liquid oxygen tanks,” said S Chokalingam, administrator at Sassoon hospital.

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B J Medical College and Sassoon hospital Dean Dr Murlidhar Tambe said for the past few days they had increased the intake capacity of Covid-19 patients. “The consumption of oxygen has gone up and our oxygen suppliers (INOX Air products plant at Chakan) have started grumbling. On Friday evening, as against 16KL, they sent an 8-KL tanker of oxygen. The supply would not have lasted till Saturday morning. Hence, we frantically started making calls to the divisional commissioner and district collector,” Tambe said.

“As a precautionary measure, we mobilised all our jumbo oxygen cylinders and kept one with each patient. Those with mild symptoms were shifted to another building on the campus as we did not want to take a chance till the oxygen tanker rolled in,” he added.

Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao, District Collector Dr Rajesh Deshmukh, SDO Khed, along with Dr Tambe, started monitoring the activities. “Officials worked throughout the night till the tanks were filled in by 3 am,” Chokalingam said.

At the 11-storeyed multi-specialty building, at least seven floors have been dedicated to Covid-19 patients. The ninth floor has the intensive care unit, where 120 patients are admitted. Of these, approximately 90 are on ventilator support. Most of the 550 patients here are on oxygen support.

Be it government or private, hospital authorities are not keen on admitting patients, anticipating shortage of oxygen. At Sassoon hospital, the authorities had planned to ramp up the bed strength for Covid-19 patients to 700, but officials now have decided to hold the expansion effort for a few days.

“We are monitoring the tanker movement from 11 am to 3 am the next day. At Sassoon hospital also, we ensure that oxygen was supplied,” said Dr Deshmukh. “We are closely monitoring the oxygen supply. Every day, along with the divisional commissioner and FDA authorities, we are somehow meeting the demand,” he added.

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