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Oxygen supply ‘erratic’, Noida hospitals on edge: ‘Slight delay can lead to calamity’

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Hospitals in Noida remain on edge as oxygen supply continues to be erratic in the district, with several facilities claiming they have been getting oxygen in instalments.

Three days ago, Prakash Hospital had issued an SOS stating that their oxygen supply would run out risking the lives of more than 140 patients.

Ayush Chauhan, director of Prakash Hospitals, said, “The stress is on a daily basis. We require 1,000 litres to sustain the entire hospital for a day, we get some parts of it due to increased demand. Whenever there is need, the administration gets us a portion of the supply but that is a temporary solution. Every day, we are anxious and afraid because even a slight delay in obtaining oxygen can lead to a calamity. If our supplier does not turn up, anything can happen.”

The hospital has more than 120 patients at its two facilities.

According to officials, the district presently has 2,500 beds for Covid patients across 18 hospitals. On Sunday evening, the Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration directed for an audit of oxygen supply to hospitals in order to ensure requisite supply. It also ordered for action against private players indulging in black marketing of oxygen.

Noida hospitals mainly get their supply from oxygen plants in Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Surajpur. It was alleged that the Faridabad supply chain had been halted by the Haryana government due to increase in demand. The UP government earlier assured that more oxygen plants will be set up at community health centres and private hospitals and that there would be no paucity of oxygen.

Bigger hospitals including Sharda, GIMS and Fortis use Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) while other hospitals use central lines fed on cylinders.

“Our hospital has two oxygen tanks of 990 litres each, which would be filled twice a day and would sustain patients for a day. Presently, they need to be filled thrice a day since demand has gone up. We are at a very precarious stage… most of the day, we have our eyes on the clock. If the supplier or emergency stock is delayed by even half an hour, we will have to start discharging patients. It is always a question for us – when and how much,” said Dr Pooja, nodal officer of Metro Hospital, which currently has 138 Covid patients.

Several such hospitals are unable to increase capacity of beds and have, hence, stopped new admissions. Only those beds that are free after discharge are being given to new patients, said doctors.

“Some patients require more oxygen and some require less. We are somehow managing but it’s only enough. Even if we take one or two more critical patients, our entire balance is lost. We have to be upfront about it to the patient because we don’t want to take risks,” said Dr Neeraj of Surya Hospital.

Other hospitals, meanwhile, said they were getting enough adequate supply. “We have never had a problem. Presently, we have enough for oxygen our patients and it has also not impacted our admissions,” said Dr Anurag, nodal officer in-charge at GIMS Greater Noida that presently has 250 beds.

Diwakar Singh, ADM, “Whenever there is a problem, we try and procure on urgent basis. There are bigger hospitals that function with adequate oxygen. We are also streamlining the supply chain and ensuring hospitals get the due. Every possible effort is being made to avert any situation,” he said.

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