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Despite govt’s surplus claims, Bengaluru hospitals continue to run out of oxygen

At Athreya Hospital in Chandapura, five out of 25 Covid-19 patients went out of oxygen
uraksha P
Last Updated : 20 April 2021, 05:03 IST
Last Updated : 20 April 2021, 05:03 IST
Last Updated : 20 April 2021, 05:03 IST
Last Updated : 20 April 2021, 05:03 IST

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City hospitals saw dramatic scenes as they continued to run out of oxygen.

Oxygen supplies rapidly dried up despite the health minister’s assurance that Karnataka uses only 273 metric tonnes out of 812 it produces a day.

While hospitals claim Deputy Drug Controller Bhaskaran J, the sole nodal officer appointed to facilitate oxygen supply, is unreachable, the officer himself claimed he arranged oxygen cylinders for 30 hospitals.

At Athreya Hospital in Chandapura, five out of 25 Covid-19 patients went out of oxygen and the condition of three grew worse by the hour.

Dr Narayanswamy S, the hospital MD and a pediatrician, said Athreya has just an hour of oxygen supply left, and a patient was hugging an empty cylinder as he overheard the discussion on oxygen shortage.

"A couple in their 50s and 60s and one patient over 60 years are sinking,” Dr Narayanswamy said. “They alone need 15-18 litres. One gentleman is gasping and holding on to an empty cylinder. There can’t be a sight worse than this for a patient. We have informed their attenders about our situation and they are crying, and not finding a bed elsewhere."

He further added that the hospital’s suppliers have asked them to stop calling as they don't have cylinders. Nearby hospitals are not doing any better as they have 30 patients in similarly worse conditions.

“I've called the oxygen nodal officer, health commissioner, health secretary and health minister but nobody is responding," Dr Narayanswamy said.

Dr Nirmala B M, who heads Green City Hospital, JP Nagar, said doctors in her facility have their hearts in their mouths every time they run out of oxygen.

“We have half an hour of oxygen left for five ward patients and three ICU patients. Our supplier has promised to send two cylinders in half-an-hour,” she said.

Breaks in oxygen supplies are usually not allowed, but the Green City Hospital had an hour of stoppage in supply on Saturday night for their ward patients before they could be plugged back into oxygen again.

At Indiranagar’s Apoorva Hospital, authorities wrote to Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust regarding oxygen shortage, but to no avail.

The hospital has eight patients on oxygen and a day’s worth of supply.

"AV Multispeciality Hospital authorities ran around the city on Sunday night for four oxygen cylinders even as they had supply till 4 am on Monday," said Dr Y L Rajashekar, Secretary, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA).

Dr H M Prasanna, President, PHANA, said, "Unless the seven manufacturing plants supply more to the vendors, they can't supply to us."

"Both Universal Air and Linde are not able to meet the growing demand from the hospitals," he addded.

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Published 19 April 2021, 19:11 IST

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