Narrow escape for 22 patients as Gujarat hospital runs out of oxygen

The private hospital on Waghodia Road informed relatives of the patients that the hospital would not be able to provide oxygen, as the supplying agency was unresponsive.

Twenty-two critical Covid-19 patients admitted to Care Multispeciality Hospital in Vadodara had a close shave on Wednesday, when the hospital ran out of oxygen at 9.30 pm, after waiting for the refill tanker since 4 pm.

The private hospital on Waghodia Road informed relatives of the patients that the hospital would not be able to provide oxygen, as the supplying agency was unresponsive.

The relatives were asked to make arrangements for the patients in other hospitals or accept that the hospital could not be blamed for the consequences.

With critical care beds in shortage, the relatives pleaded with the hospital to make arrangements even as the SOS calls to the control room went unheard. Finally, until 12.30 am when the refill finally arrived, the hospital struggled for help from other private hospitals having oxygen in buffer stock.

Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Dharmendrasinh Solanki, told this newspaper, “We had no other choice but to inform the relatives. We had been trying to get our liquid oxygen tanker since 4pm on Wednesday and we knew that our supply would last only till 9.30 pm. We made frantic calls to the Vadodara oxygen control room and the authorities and other agencies to no avail.”

“From 9.30pm to 12.30am, when the tanker finally arrived, we begged with several other private hospitalsand procured some cylinders…,” he said adding the hospital has 22 critical care Covid patients, of whom eight are in ICU.

Solanki said that the hospital needs close to six metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen per day to treat the current capacity of Covid patients. “Even today, we are not sure if the oxygen refill will come on time,” he said.

On Thursday, 10 private hospitals in the city cited oxygen shortage, some even admitting to have stopped taking new cases due to fear of oxygen running out. A doctor from a private clinic in Karelibaug said, “The supply is short at all private hospitals. The agencies have been asked to give preference to government hospitals… The tankers of agencies have to wait for refill at the companies as the raw materials to produce medical oxygen is also short in supply.”

Vadodara, which is currently consuming close to 173 MT of oxygen per day with 1,136 patients on ventilators, 1,470 patients in ICU without ventilators, and an additional 4,806 patients on oxygen support, has been asked to cap its consumption.

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