At least 20 coronavirus patients in Delhi have died after the hospital treating them ran out of oxygen, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday. Authorities at the Jaipur Golden Hospital said that another 200 lives were at risk as they had supplies to last only half-an-hour.
“We lost 20 people amid an oxygen shortage last night [Friday],” hospital’s Medical Director DK Baluja told the newspaper. “Oxygen supply to last only half an hour now, more than 200 lives at stake.”
Out of the 200 patients, 80 are on oxygen support while 35 are in intensive care unit, Baluja told PTI.
Baluja told NDTV that the oxygen supply that was supposed to reach them by Friday evening only arrived at midnight, by which time several patients had died.
The hospital has gone to the Delhi High Court to take up the matter.
“We are gasping for oxygen,” the hospital’s plea in court said, according to NDTV. “We have our Doctors before you. Please save lives. Please.”
The news came a day after 25 “sickest” coronavirus patients died overnight at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi amid a last-minute scramble for oxygen. In a statement released around 8 am on Friday, the director of the hospital had warned that they had oxygen for only two more hours and that 60 more patients were at risk.
As coronavirus cases in the country surge at an unprecedented scale, hospitals in Delhi are facing an acute shortage of oxygen. Major hospitals in the Capital have nearly ran out of oxygen for days now. The situation is worsening by the day with hospitals taking to social media to plead with the government to replenish their oxygen supplies and threatening to stop admissions of new patients.
Meanwhile, at least 14 coronavirus patients admitted to a hospital in Virar in Maharashtra’s Palghar district died on Friday after a fire broke out in the medical facility. In Maharashtra, at least 24 died on Thursday when a leak in a hospital’s main oxygen tank cut the flow of oxygen to Covid-19 patients.
Earlier this week, the Centre had announced that the Indian Railways will run special trains to supply oxygen to states and Union Territories, as several of them are facing a shortage. The “Oxygen Express”made its first stoppage in Maharashtra’s Nagpur on Friday evening.
The Centre has also decided to prohibit supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, in order to divert the stock for medical use. But as per an analysis by Scroll.in, India’s daily requirement of medical oxygen is currently more than double the amount that has been exempted from industrial use – 4,600 metric tonnes. And the country may run out of stocks in a few weeks even if all industrial oxygen is diverted to medical use.