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Monday, June 21, 2021

At Goa hospital with oxygen tank, deaths down, so are cases

Goa’s largest treatment facility for Covid-19 patients and the only one treating very critical patients, GMCH accounts for most of its daily coronavirus deaths.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Panaji |
Updated: May 20, 2021 5:22:46 am
Goa CM visiting GMC Hospital on Tuesday. (Express Photo)

Deaths of Covid-19 patients at Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) have seen a gradual drop in the five days since the government installed a 20,000-litre Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) tank that supplies oxygen directly to the wards, replacing its earlier system dependent on oxygen cylinder trolleys hauled by tractors.

The tank became operational on the evening of May 15. While the hospital saw 48 deaths on May 11, this was down to 18 on Wednesday.

Goa’s largest treatment facility for Covid-19 patients and the only one treating very critical patients, GMCH accounts for most of its daily coronavirus deaths.

Between May 9 and May 14 (excluding May 13 on which the government did not issue a mortality bulletin) GMCH reported 188 Covid deaths of the total 323 across Goa. From May 15 to May 19, it accounted for 104 of the total toll of 230.

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the drop in deaths at GMCH was on account of “new treatment protocols and innovations” by the Goa government. The first to suggest that deaths at GMCH between 2 am and 6 am may be linked to oxygen issues, he reiterated his new stand that the casualties couldn’t be linked to a drop in oxygen supply. “I had said that we encountered some technical glitches between so and so time to so and so time. I did not tag 2 am to 6 am,” he told The Indian Express.

Dr Viraj Khandeparkar, the nodal officer in-charge of Covid-19 at GMCH, however, said there was no change in treatment protocol, and that the fall in deaths coincided with a decrease in admissions. “Last year also, there was a rise in deaths and then a drop,” he said, adding the trend will have to be observed over the next few days to infer if the worst was over.

“We have gone through a lot of stress because of oxygen. With the new tank, patients have got oxygen but we, the doctors, have got a life,” Khandeparkar said.

Rane said the BJP government in the state now proposed to have LMO tanks at all government hospitals with more than 200 beds. He said with children expected to be infected in the future, directions had been issued for setting up a 60-bed pediatric ICU at GMCH.

Active cases in Goa were down to 22,964 Wednesday, with the positivity rate at 31%, from a high of 50%. On Wednesday, the state saw 31 deaths.

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