Hospitals across Delhi say having to cope with less oxygen than needed

Even as the national capital entered its third week of lockdown, several hospitals continued to complain about the reduction in allocated oxygen supply.

The Indian Express spoke to four hospitals in the city that confirmed there has been a drop in the allocated oxygen supply. Dr Ajaz Mustafa, medical superintendent of HAHC hospital, said: “The situation is getting worse day by day. We have more than 100 Covid patients and almost 95 cannot survive without high-flow oxygen. Our current requirement is 3.08 metric tonnes while earlier the allotted stock was 2.4 MT. It has now been further reduced to 1.4 MT. The dependency on the oxygen cylinders is increasing.”

Dr Aashish Chaudhry, managing director of Aakash Healthcare hospital, said: “Since the time the number of Covid cases have increased, every other day we are facing this acute crisis. We have been asked to take more Covid patients, and there are more than 250 admitted at the moment. Everyone who is coming to the hospital belongs to the moderate or severe category of the illness and requires a high flow of oxygen. We have been trying to maintain the demand supply by having a combination of oxygen cylinders and liquid supply. But as per the consumption of patients, the overall supply is ranging between 4-5 MT every day but we are hardly able to get 1.5-2 MT of liquid medical oxygen. It’s 30-40% of what we require on a daily basis. The SOS system has become a primary thing and we have to be dependent on that. Almost 1.5 MT has been reduced for our hospital.”

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the city needs 976 MT of oxygen supply to cater to the demands of Covid patients admitted across hospitals. He further said the government has asked for assistance from several stakeholders, DRDO, Indian Army, central government, public and private sector to increase oxygen supply in the city.

“As of yesterday, we received 440 MT of oxygen, which is lesser than the allocated quota of 590 MT and much lesser than Delhi’s requirement of 976 MT to cater to the demand of each and every citizen. It is imperative that we receive adequate oxygen and increase our capacity of beds,” he said on Monday.

At Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, the day was spent in anxiety with the hospital trying to meet the oxygen demand of 170 patients. Dr K Preetham, medical superintendent of the hospital, told The Indian Express: “Our requirement is 4.8 MT and the allocated supply is 3.99 MT. However, the assigned quantity is 1.83 MT. Most hospitals are facing this problem as Delhi quota reduced to 425 MT from 460 MT whereas Delhi needs double the current supply at least as of now and in days to come.”

Rajiv Bayala, vice-president at IBS hospital, which restricted new admissions on Monday as the hospital faced acute shortage of oxygen supply, said: “The allocated stock of oxygen supply has been reduced in some of the hospitals. Earlier, we used to get 0.9 MT of oxygen per day which was also very less against the requirement of 1.2 MT. Now, they have further reduced it from 0.9 MT to 0.49 MT. What should we do about the 39 patients admitted in the hospital and in need of oxygen supply?”

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