Updated: April 28, 2021 7:25:39 pm
As hospitals in Gurgaon continue to put out SOS messages in the face of oxygen shortage, with some claiming they had to turn away patients or shift those admitted, the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has issued an order directing that only hospitals and nursing homes in Gurgaon be permitted to fill cylinders from oxygen refilling stations in the district.
“It has been observed that hospitals/nursing homes located outside district Gurugram send their vehicles to oxygen refilling stations meant to service hospitals/nursing homes of Gurugram and thus create undue pressure on allocated quota of district Gurugram. In order to stop this practice it has been decided by competent authority that henceforth only hospitals/nursing homes located in district Gurugram and registered on web portal covidharyana.in will be entitled to get gas cylinder filled through oxygen refilling stations registered with district administration Gurugram,” states the order issued by MCG commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh, who also heads the five-member team constituted to assess demand of medical oxygen in Gurgaon and manage its transportation and distribution.
The order adds that “in no circumstances” will “outside” hospitals and nursing homes be allowed “access to oxygen refilling stations”. It further directed Gurgaon Police and Executive Magistrates to ensure “strict compliance”.
In addition, Singh has also ordered that liquid medical oxygen be provided by the administration to only those hospitals that update their data on bed availability on the Covid portal by 5 pm.
“Since there is an increase in demand from hospitals in district Gurugram due to surge in number of patients requiring oxygen support, it as been decided to ensure adequate supply of liquid medical oxygen to only those registered hospitals/nursing homes that update their data regarding allocated beds of Covid and its occupancy on the portal covidharyana.in by 5 pm each day, and in case registered hospital/nursing home fails to update data, then district administration will consider discontinuation/limiting the supply to such registered hospitals/nursing homes,” states the order.
Three hospitals in the city — Mayom Hospital, Kathuria Hospital and Pushpanjali Hospital — on Wednesday complained of persisting oxygen shortage, with two of them appealing to the administration for help, claiming to have only a few minutes of supply left.
“We have been facing issues because the supply from the backend is not coming and all the liquid oxygen is getting diverted to bigger hospitals, as a result of which smaller hospitals are left without any supply. We are counting on backups and running around to get cylinders, asking nursing homes or other places. It is a dire situation,” said Dr Manish Prakash, CEO of Mayom Hospital, which is facing this issue for the second time in four days. The hospital now has 20 patients on ventilator and 75 other patients.
At Pushpanjali Hospital too, the shortage of oxygen led to attendants of some patients surrounding the home of the MCG commissioner and demanding action. At both establishments, oxygen was eventually provided by the administration.
“When the hospitals raised the issue, the oxygen was supplied to them and the problem was resolved,” said Yash Garg, deputy commissioner of Gurgaon.
At Kathuria Hospital, which was treating 20 patients as of Wednesday morning, officials have started asking patients to shift to other hospitals due to the daily problem of oxygen shortage.
“This is a problem we face daily. We take our cylinders and go to refilling stations and stand in line, and when our turn comes they say the oxygen is over, come in the morning. We have had to ask patients to shift because we do not want to see mortalities happening because of this,” said Dr AK Kathuria, owner of the hospital.
“We ask patients who are stable to shift. For those who are sicker, we will wait until they are stable before requesting them to move. We also had to turn away people. We have stopped new admissions. Nobody has been admitted today because we have to at least give complete oxygen to the patients we have,” he said.
A senior official from the district administration, speaking on the condition of anonymity, insisted the problem was not in the allocation or supply of oxygen.
“The problems arise when smaller hospitals admit patients beyond their capacity. But they have no idea of the proper backups. Then they raise these issues of having only one hour of oxygen. They don’t have any scientific idea of how to utilise oxygen in such scenarios, how to manage it so as to maximise it. I would not say we have an abundance of oxygen. No one has that in the country right now, but we have a backup stock for emergency situations apart from our 35 metric tonnes of supply,” said the official.
Recognising that the state is seeing a massive surge in Covid cases, the Haryana government on Wednesday sanctioned funds amounting to Rs 9.40 crore to deputy commissioners for “expenditure on containment measures” including quarantine, sample collection, screening, along with procurement of essential equipment and laboratories. Of the total sum, Rs 7 crore has been sanctioned for 14 districts, including Gurgaon, while Rs 2.40 crore has been sanctioned for the remaining eight districts.
“These funds would be utilised for making provisions for temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care for affected people and those sheltered in quarantine camps…or for cluster containment operations. Cost of consumables for sample collection and support for checking, screening and contact tracing would also be covered,” said Sanjeev Kaushal, financial commissioner (revenue) and additional chief secretary (revenue and disaster management), adding that the amount would be met out from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
The amount, he said, would also cover the cost of setting up additional testing laboratories and PPE for healthcare workers and other frontline workers, as well as the cost of thermal scanners, ventilators, air purifiers, oxygen generation and storage plants in hospitals. Furthermore, the sanctioned sum can also be used for strengthening ambulance services for transport of patients and setting up containment zones, Covid hospital and Covid care centres.
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