Two private hospitals in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar with around 600 COVID-19 patients on Thursday said they were facing a shortage of oxygen supply and they did not have enough to last them till the next day.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued late in the night, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Deepak Ohri said admissions to such private hospitals where the number of beds has been increased but suppliers have not been able to provide oxygen as per contract have been “put on hold” for the time being.
“In such hospitals, no new admissions are being taken. They will resume once oxygen supply is normalised,” Ohri said, adding in all other government and private hospitals, the normal admission process as per bed availability and medical requirement shall continue.
Officials of Kailash Hospital in Sector 27 said their resources are already “overstretched” and the staff was working beyond duty hours to tackle the influx of patients due to the pandemic. Patients at Prakash Hospital in Sector 31 were also left in the lurch due to oxygen shortage.
Kailash Group Medical director Dr Ritu Vohra said they have around 450 patients across their four facilities in the district.
Prakash Hospital, which has two facilities, said in a statement that it has around 150 patients under treatment who need medical oxygen.
“We have oxygen for seven-eight hours. Since morning, all our group hospitals need oxygen replenishment. We have stopped new admissions due to oxygen shortage. In this hospital (Sector 27), we have oxygen that would last only four-five hours,” Vohra said around noon.
“We are ready to pay extra for oxygen or do whatever it takes because saving the lives of our patients is the top priority for us,” she added.
Vohra appealed to people from civil society to help the hospital with oxygen replenishment if possible.
She said the hospital has informed the district administration and all concerned officials regarding the situation and has repeatedly been assured that “replenishment would be done soon” but to no avail.
At Prakash Hospital, attendants of several patients were seen running from pillar to post to find help while hospital officials said they were facing difficulty in procuring oxygen from their supplier in Haryana.
“We have been told that the hospital has oxygen supply that will last only two to three hours and that patients should be taken to some other hospital,” a patient’s attendant standing outside the hospital told reporters.
Another attendant said, “My daughter is in the hospital for the past few days and now they are saying take her somewhere else. Where do we take her? They should tell me where I should take her, I would do that. It’s such a failure.”
Gautam Buddh Nagar Chief Development Officer Anil Singh, who visited Prakash Hospital, said he has been told about the difficulty in the procurement of medical oxygen from Haryana and the district administration is trying to resolve the issue.
On patients being asked to move to other facilities, Singh told reporters, “If such a situation arises, then we will make all arrangements for it.”
CMO Ohri said all efforts are being made to tackle challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There were some rumours doing rounds on social media that admissions to hospitals have been stopped in the district. It is clarified that no such instructions have been given,” he said.
“All efforts are being made to normalise oxygen availability in the district in consultation with the state government,” he added.
Besides Kailash and Prakash hospitals, attendants at some other hospitals in Noida and Greater Noida also claimed difficulty in finding oxygen for patients battling COVID-19.
Gautam Buddh Nagar is one of the worst-hit districts in Uttar Pradesh. According to official data, the district has 4,088 active COVID-19 cases and a death toll of 129.