In a shocking case of alleged negligence by authorities in Maharashtra, at least 12 people have died in a span of two weeks in a BMC-run hospital in Jogeshwari, Mumbai due to a shortage in oxygen supply to coronavirus patients, Mumbai Mirror reports.
According to the reports, about 90 per cent of patients admitted at a 200-bed facility at HBT Trauma Center in Jogeshwari require oxygen supply. A resident doctor said that out of the 25 beds in the ICU, there are at least 15 machines, which is running on low oxygen pressure.
Patients died due to low oxygen supply: Resident doctors
Narrating an emergency situation in the facility last week, a resident doctor recalled how two patients had died in the hospital due to low Oxygen supply.
The doctor said, “Two patients were gasping for breath and needed 8 to 10 litres of oxygen per minute. However, the supply was so slow that the screen was continuously giving low-pressure O2 alerts, and by the time I tried to fix the pressure with the hospital technician, both patients had died”.
Reportedly, one resident doctor has been is in severe mental pain after he witnessed a 51-year-old patient Imran die due to shortage of oxygen.
Recalling the tragic death, the doctor reportedly said, “This was his fourth day in the ICU. He was doing much better when he first came. His oxygen saturation level was also improving. I was sure he would be out of the ICU soon. That day, at least seven ventilators were showing low pressure, so I went to call the technician. By the time I returned in five minutes, Imran was dead.
“‘Low oxygen pressure’ was visible on his screen. His death made me very sad. ICU has become a disappointing place for us. Nobody wants to be on duty here only because of these conditions,” the resident doctor shared his ordeal to Mumbai Mirror by expressing the mental pain.
That doctor also asked what is the point of putting so much efforts, if we cannot save the lives of patients because of such issues.
In a similar heart-wrenching incident at the hospital, on Thursday, a 51-year-old Vakola resident gasped in the hospital. However, the patient could not be admitted to the hospital as there were no hospital beds with oxygen supply, the resident doctor said.
According to the doctors who are treating coronavirus cases, most of the patients suffer from moderate to severe breathing difficulty. Every coronavirus patient requires at least 3 to 10 litres of oxygen per minute. “Now you can imagine the need for oxygen in the hospital,” an ICU doctor said.
After apprising the grave situation in the hospital by writing he several complaints, the doctors at the HBT Trauma Center have now written a letter to the medical superintendent of the hospital – Dr Vidya Mane, saying that they should not be blamed for deaths of coronavirus patients in the ICU.
In the letter, the doctors have also written about their degrading mental health after seeing so many patients die due to lack of oxygen supply.
Hospital is struggling to meet Oxygen demand: Medical Superintendent
Meanwhile, Dr Vidya Mane, the medical superintendent of the hospital even though admitted that the hospital was facing a serious shortage of oxygen, however, denied any deaths due to low oxygen supply.
“When we started 50 Covid-19 beds, the requirement was 100 jumbo oxygen cylinders, now with 200 beds, we have increased the cylinder to 350. It is true that our demand is high, as we are currently getting many critical cases, nearly all of them need oxygen support. Patients have died because they reached the hospital at a critical stage,” said Dr Mane.
She also added that the hospital has placed an order for 500 cylinders on Thursday soon after the resident doctors brought the issue to her attention.
Dr Mane further stated that the HBT trauma hospital cannot fit a large oxygen liquid tank due to fire safety norms. However, she said, the hospital administration is trying to solve the problem by setting up a medical oxygen generation plant.
Failing health infrastructure in Maharashtra
The appalling health infrastructure in the state of Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai, was yet again evident few days back after shocking videos had emerged where it was seen how coronavirus patients and other emergency patients were made to share beds due to a shortage in capacity.
The coronavirus patients being treated at Mumbai’s Sion hospital emergency ward were seen sharing beds, with two people being allocated to a bed. With a rising shortage in beds, the patients, many with coronavirus symptoms are also sharing a single oxygen tank.
The videos of the patients lying almost on top of each other, sleeping on shared stretchers or just lying on the floor had also gone viral some days back.
Earlier, another chilling video of the Sion hospital had gone viral on social media in which it was clearly seen that corpses were kept in the ward in which the patients of coronavirus were admitted. The dead bodies of coronavirus patients were kept next to the patients under treatment in a Hospital of Mumbai in the Sion area.
Maharashtra remains the most-affected state in the country, with nearly 62,228 cases have been reported from the state. On Friday, the state saw 2,682 fresh cases. The state has also reported 2,098 deaths, 116 deaths came on Friday alone.
Meanwhile, Mumbai city has alone reported 1,437 fresh on cases on Friday as its tally crossed the 35,000-mark to reach 36,710 cases. The city has also reported 38 deaths on Friday to take its toll to 1,173.