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Video of a doctor claiming empty Nebuliser can replace oxygen cylinder goes viral, doctor apologises after experts slam him for wrong claim

Faridabad's Sarvodaya Hospital clarified that it does not endorse claims made by Dr Alok, and asked not to follow any such practice without consulting a doctor

With many grappling for oxygen and other essential medical supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic, multiple “experts” have surfaced on social media to suggest alternate resources for the ones facing scarcity, especially of oxygen. This time a misleading video of one Dr Alok from Faridabad’s Sarvodaya Hospital has gone viral in which he can be seen claiming that an empty nebuliser can improve the level of blood oxygen.

Nebuliser is a machine that converts liquid medicine to mist, which can be inhaled by asthma patients. In the video, Dr Alok had demonstrated how to use a nebulizer machine without putting any medicine in it. He had claimed that the machine draws oxygen from the atmosphere, which can be inhaled.

However, taking quick note of the viral video, Sarvodaya Healthcare issued a clarification denying any endorsement of the claims made in the video. 

The tweet read, “The video has not been backed by any evidence or scientific study, does not reflect any medical advice, and is in no way endorsed by Sarvodaya Hospital, Faridabad. Please do not follow any such practice without consulting your medical practitioner. It could lead to worsening of the disease.”

Dr Alok in his video claimed that he was heartbroken seeing so many people struggling to get hold of oxygen and spending hefty amounts and hence was releasing the video to use nebulizer as a substitute to oxygen cylinders. “I am showing you a trick. You can do this. This is the nebulizer. This is the machine where we put the medicine. But don’t use any medicine. Use the empty nebulizer. Sit down. Put it on your nose and switch on the machine. There is enough oxygen in the environment. Don’t rush after oxygen cylinders. Don’t put your life at stake. Stay at home. Thank you,” Dr Alok was seen saying while demonstrating the technique.

Nebulizers are machines to inhale medication but no medicine is needed here, the video said. These machines are usually prescribed to patients suffering from Asthma.

The video was shared by many Twitter users with disclaimers of “shared as received.”

Doctors and experts warn against such baseless techniques

Dr Arvinder Singh Soin, chairman of the Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Medanta, dismissed Dr Alok’s claim and remarked, “The video demonstrating a purported technique that can substitute a nebulizer machine for an oxygen cylinder to improve blood oxygen levels is totally baseless. It should be discredited.”

Dr Dhiren Gupta, co-director of Pediatric Critical Care Unit at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, “This is completely a sham. He should give up his medical degree.”

“A nebuliser provides nebules of the medicine and pushes them a bit. It cannot fulfill the oxygen requirement. In fact, at times, you need to connect it to oxygen,” said Dr Aviral Vatsa of National Health Service, Scotland.

Doctor apologized for the misleading video

After receiving a backlash from the medical fraternity, Dr Alok released another video clarifying that his video has gone wrong and is sending out the wrong message.

“Hi, I am Dr Alok. A video of me went viral yesterday which says nebuliser is an alternative to an oxygen cylinder. This is not true. I am repeating myself this is not true. Probably I wanted to say something else and couldn’t frame it properly. With folded hands, I am telling you nebuliser is not an alternative to an oxygen cylinder. I wanted to give some other message. Take care. Thank you,” he said in his video uploaded on social media.

However, it is not clear what he means by he wanted to say something else. He had clearly said that empty nebulizer can be used to get oxygen in the previous video.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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