“Accordingly, we are procuring oxygen from other states and we got 30 tonnes from Odisha on Monday and another 30 tonnes will reach on Tuesday,” said Ravikumar
BENGALURU: The wide gap between demand and supply of medical oxygen has threatened to snowball into a massive public-health emergency as SOS calls poured in from several desperate Bengaluru private hospitals seeking the life-saving element.
Medax Hospital in RT Nagar wrote to a patient’s relative, asking her to look for a bed in any other hospital. The letter said the hospital had informed the attendant about the dwindling stock on May 1 and it pressed the alarm again on Monday saying that the oxygen stock was emptying by 5pm.
Bengaluru Rural MP DK Suresh released a video in which he informed the government that 200 patients admitted in Rajarajeswari Medical College Hospital were in need of oxygen and appealed to chief secretary P Ravi Kumar to save their lives.
Suresh said the hospital needed 3 tonnes of medical oxygen, but the government could not supply it immediately. The MP sourced about 0.6 tonnes of oxygen in the evening, while the hospital on its own arranged for one tonne. “While this is sufficient for 8 hours, the chief secretary promised us to ensure 3 more tonnes by Tuesday morning,” Suresh said after meeting Ravi Kumar.
HM Prasanna, president of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, confirmed that his association is flooded with SOS calls but support from the government is not forthcoming.
‘Oxy supply must for infra upgrade’
Amid spiralling Covid-19 cases, chief secretary P Ravi Kumar has asked district deputy commissioners not to ramp up medical facilities and infrastructure without ensuring the availability of oxygen supply. Officials said the step was taken to avoid a possible mismatch of bed strength and oxygen supply in hospitals.
Oxygen units directed to divert their entire production to medical purposes
He said 500 of 600 private hospitals with a cumulative capacity of 10,000 beds are treating Covid patients in the city and the dearth of drugs and oxygen has thrown medical care out of gear. The government has estimated that the state requires 1,700 metric tonnes of oxygen daily. Though the Centre is allotting 850 tonnes of oxygen to Karnataka, the available stock as on Monday was 665 tonnes.
Officials said estimates put the city’s daily oxygen need at 1,200 tonnes and the available stock is only 30% of the demand. “We cannot accurately calculate the demand and supply since the situation is dynamic,” said Bengaluru Urban deputy commissioner J Manjunath.
Chief minister Yediyurappa on Monday sent a reminder to the Centre about its pending share of contribution and the Centre has allowed Karnataka to procure about 110 tonnes from other states in addition to its allotment of 655 tonnes. “Accordingly, we are procuring oxygen from other states and we got 30 tonnes from Odisha on Monday and another 30 tonnes will reach on Tuesday,” said Ravikumar.
The CM convened a meeting of oxygen producers and instructed them to divert their entire production to medical purposes. “We have agreed to optimise the production and supply,” said Satish Chandra Kesari, director of Bharuka Gasses, which produces 65 tonnes of oxygen a day of which 10 tonnes was going to Maharashtra. “Now, we are stopping supply to Maharashtra,” he added.
The government issued an order mandating the oxygen producers to report daily on the production and stock position and a senior official said the step was taken to ensure perpetual supply to as many as hospitals is possible.
Chaitanya Medical Centre, Yelahanka New Town, on Monday took to social media and asked all its patients to relocate to another hospital citing lack of oxygen. It required 20-30 cylinders of 33 litres each for its patients, many of who were critical and unconscious. However, hospital authorities later in the night said the issue has been resolved after they got oxygen from a private agency.