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Mumbai doctor slams Maharashtra government on its new circular governing the consumption of oxygen in private COVID-19 hospitals

Dr Amit Thadani had claimed that bureaucrats disconnected from ground realities have made preposterous suggestions to govern the consumption of medical oxygen by COVID-19 patients

With Maharashtra reeling from an unprecedented shortage of oxygen because of the surging coronavirus outbreak, the Maha Vikas Aghadi state government has issued a new circular concerning the consumption of medical oxygen in state’s COVID-19 hospitals. However, doctors managing the COVID-19 crisis are seemingly displeased with the new notice that has accused the hospitals of not judiciously using the medical oxygen.

Mumbai doctor Amit Thadani, who had earlier accused the state authorities of harassment even as the coronavirus pandemic was gaining stronghold in the state, has today posted a tweet criticising the Maharashtra government’s new letter on consumption of medical oxygen and alleging that bureaucrats are disconnected from the ground reality.

“We invite babus to come sit in ICU and tell patients that their quota of oxygen is capped at 12 liters per minute and they should not misuse,” Dr Amit Thadani sarcastically tweeted after the letter asked the private COVID-19 hospitals to conduct consumption audit of oxygen calculating 7 litres per minute for patient in ward and 12 litres per minute for those in the ICUs to ensure that there is no leakage of medical oxygen in pipe lines, valves etc.

When one of the Twitter users mentioned that 12 litres is not a cap mentioned by the Maharashtra government but just a reference point to be used as a rule of thumb for the audit, Dr Amit Thadani retorted back stating that the requirements of ICU patients is somewhere close to 30-60 litres per minute and it is preposterous to think 12 litres per minute would suffice. He added that someone who has never managed a COVID-19 patient in his life could think of making such suggestions.

Maharashtra government issues a new circular ordering judicious use of medical oxygen

The criticism from the doctor came after the Maharashtra state was afflicted by the double whammy of coronavirus and depleting medical oxygen reserves. The state government issued a new circular, raising concern that if the consumption of medical oxygen continued at the present rate, the state would exhaust its manufacturing capacity of the oxygen.

The circular pointed out the discrepancies in the consumption of medical oxygen in the state with respect to the number of patients that are reported to be on oxygen.

“The consumption is not commensurate with the reported number of patients on oxygen in that particular district/municipal corporation. There is a gross mismatch particularly in the Private Hospitals and hospitals of the Municipal Corporations in terms of patients of reported on oxygen and the quantum of oxygen consumed in metric tons per day,” the circular read.

Alleging that there has been no judicious use of oxygen by the Private Hospitals, the notice has mentioned a list of actions to be carried out by them. One of them being carrying out audit of consumption of oxygen by patients in ward with 7 litres per minute as base and 12 litres per minute for those in ICUs.

The circular also directs the hospitals to upload patient discharge data on the portal on an urgent basis and take a review of all the patients who are on oxygen to ensure that oxygen is used prudently. Hospitals have also been asked to prepare a proper record of those on oxygen.

The notice also calls for scrupulous monitoring of private hospitals “who have a tendency of putting patients on oxygen for a longer duration, allegedly for commercial purposes”.

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