* On Sunday, four Covid-19 patients died at a hospital in Kankerbagh, Patna, allegedly due to shortage of oxygen.
* A day before that, a 36-year-old person died at home in Dhanarua, near the state capital, after failing to get medical attention.
* Relatives of many patients say they are arranging oxygen cylinders at home on advice from doctors on phone, and given the acute shortage of oxygen in most hospitals.
* Some private hospitals, relatives of patients say, are asking them to come with oxygen cylinders.
Such is the state of depleted oxygen supply in Bihar’s hospitals, and especially those in the state capital, that two of Patna’s biggest dedicated Covid facilities — Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) and Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) — have oxygen stock of less than two days, according to hospital officials.
NMCH medical superintendent, Dr Vinod Kumar Singh, said, “We have been under tremendous pressure because of staff and oxygen cruch.”
Dr Singh had last week requested the state health department to relieve him of his charges since he did not not want to be held responsible for any patient’s death due to oxygen shortage.
As many as 16 private hospitals in Patna have oxygen stock of less than one to two days, it is learnt. Among these are Park Surgicals, Royal Hospital, Samay Hospital, Siddharth Hospital, Capital Hospital, Himalaya Hospital, Nidan Hospital and Tara Hospital.
All these hospitals are not taking in new patients, and many are asking people under treatment to look for alternative arrangements.
Ramesh Kumar, relative of a patient admitted at Samay Hospital, near Saguna Mod in Patna, said, “We were asked to look for another hospital. We are looking to organise an oxygen cylinder to keep him at the hospital.”
State Health Minister Mangal Pandey said: “We are trying to deal with oxygen shortage on war-footing. The Centre has already increased our quota. We are getting oxygen to hospitals…. We are also getting 14,000 vials of Remdesivir from Gujarat.”
A doctor at the Kankerbagh hospital where four patients died on Sunday said, “It is true that we have very little oxygen in stock, but the patients who died had other complications as well.”
The doctor added that oxygen could run out any time.
As the second wave lashes Bihar, like other states, the state’s 3,000 ICU beds are full. Although the government created more than 15,000 oxygen beds, shortage of oxygen means most are not functional. The state has less than 900 ventilators in public and private hospitals put together.
Such is the status of chaos that some of the smaller clinics are now afraid of taking Covid-19 patients, apprehensive of relatives’ wrath in case something goes wrong with patients. Dr Kundan Kumar of Dr Dharmavir Hospital at Jagdeopath, Patna, said: “I had all of three oxygen cylinders, which are exhausted now. There is little chances of getting them filled. I am not admitting any new Covid patient and seeing Covid-19 patients in OPD.”
The NMCH, which has 500 beds for Covid patients, had a few beds vacant as on Monday but two recent incidents of misbehavior with junior doctors by relatives of patients have made the hospital management avoid admitting new patients.
During the second wave of the pandemic, Bihar has recorded over 86,000 Covid-19 cases, with Patna alone reporting 2,000-2,500 cases every day. Saran, Bhagalpur and Gaya are the other district badly hit by the surge.