As major hospitals in New Delhi pleaded for more supplies to save COVID-19 patients who were unable to breathe on social media on Friday, India put oxygen tankers on special express trains. An oxygen-fed fire tore through a coronavirus ward in a populated western province, killing more than a dozen people.
The world’s worst coronavirus surge is wearing down India’s underfunded health sector, which set a global high of daily infections for the second day in a row with 332,730.
In a nation of nearly 1.4 billion inhabitants, India has confirmed 16 million cases, second only to the United States. In India, there have been 2,263 deaths in the last 24 hours, for a total of 186,920.
A fire in a hospital intensive care unit killed 13 COVID-19 patients early Friday in the Virar district on Mumbai’s outskirts.
The condition is deteriorating by the day, with hospitals turning to social media to beg the government to replenish their oxygen stocks and trying to halt new patient admissions.
Max Hospital, a large private hospital chain in the capital, tweeted that one of its hospitals had just one hour’s worth of oxygen in its system and had been waiting for replenishment since early morning. They had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court two days ago, claiming that they were running out of oxygen, endangering the lives of 400 people, 262 of whom were being cared for COVID-19.
According to Railroad Minister Piyush Goyal, the government has begun operating Oxygen Express trains with tankers to meet hospital shortages. According to the government, the air force also airlifted oxygen tanks and other supplies to places where they were requested, as well as doctors and nurses to New Delhi.
“We have excess oxygen at plants that are far from where it is required right now. “Transporting oxygen from these plants is a challenge,” said Saket Tiku, president of the All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association. “We have increased demand because oxygen consumption is skyrocketing. But we have limits, and the most difficult task right now is getting it to where it is desperately needed. ”
On Thursday, the Supreme Court informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that it needed a “national programme” for supplying oxygen and critical medicines to coronavirus patients.
According to the Press Trust of India, the Defense Ministry will fly 23 mobile oxygen generation plants from Germany to deal with the shortage. According to the company, each plant would be able to produce 2,400 litres of oxygen per hour.
The New Delhi government has released a list of a dozen government and private hospitals that are suffering from a severe lack of oxygen.
Questions were posed at another hospital in the capital on whether insufficient oxygen levels were to blame for the deaths.
According to the Press Trust of India, 25 COVID-19 patients died at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the previous 24 hours, and the lives of another 60 were jeopardised due to a severe oxygen supply crisis. Unidentified officials were quoted as saying that “low pressure oxygen” may have been the cause of their deaths.
A hospital spokesman, Ajoy Sehgal, declined to comment about whether the 25 patients died as a result of a lack of oxygen. He mentioned that an oxygen tanker had just arrived at the hospital complex and hoped that it would temporarily replenish the dwindling stocks.
The hospital chairman later told the New Delhi Television channel that the deaths could not be attributed to a lack of oxygen.
The early Friday fire on the outskirts of Mumbai was the second fatal incident involving COVID-19 patients at a hospital this week.
According to Dilip Shah, CEO of Vijay Vallabh hospital, the fire on the second-floor ICU was extinguished and some patients needing oxygen were transferred to nearby hospitals. According to Shah, there are 90 patients in the hospital, which is located about 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of Mumbai, India’s financial hub.
He mentioned that the cause of the fire is being investigated. According to government official Vivekanand Kadam, an explosion in the ICU air conditioning unit preceded the blast.
On Wednesday, the 24th COVID-
An oxygen leak in a hospital in Nashik, another city in Maharashtra state, killed 19 patients on ventilators.
Akhil Gupta was in New Delhi looking for a bed for his 62-year-old mother, Suman. She tested positive on April 2 and was asymptomatic for 10 days. She then developed a fever and began having trouble breathing.
Her other sons, Nikhil and Akhil, rode around the city for two days, visiting every hospital in search of a bed. They went with their mother occasionally, and they went on their own other times. They looked everywhere but came up empty-handed.
They got their mother into the emergency room at the Max Hospital in Patparganj on Friday, where she was briefly placed on oxygen as she waited for a bed to open up inside.
“Now the doctors are requesting that we take her out because they do not have enough oxygen to hold her in the emergency department. But we’re not even getting an ambulance with oxygen to take her to another facility,” Akhil Gupta said.
The family wanted to remain at Max and wait for a bed.
“Is there anything that we can do?” Akhil said.
After converting industrial oxygen production systems into a medical-grade network a year ago, India was able to escape the medical oxygen shortages that afflicted Latin America and Africa.
However, several facilities reverted to providing oxygen to factories, and many Indian states are now experiencing such scarcity that the Health Ministry has advised hospitals to introduce rationing.
The government started construction of new plants to manufacture medical oxygen in October, but it is still uncertain if any have come online six months later, with the Health Ministry stating that they were being “closely checked for early completion.”
Tanks of oxygen are being shuttled around the country to hotspots to meet demand, and many state governments have said that several of them have been seized and diverted to other states’ needs.
On Monday, Ashok Kumar Sharma, 62, was eventually put on oxygen in his West Delhi home. It took days of frantically looking for an oxygen tank at numerous hospitals, pharmacies, and private dealers for it to happen.
“I called at least 60 people searching for oxygen, but everyone’s numbers were disconnected,” Kunal, Sharma’s son, said.
Kunal’s father was diagnosed with pneumonia on April 14 and tested positive for COVID-19 a few days later. The doctors advised that he be placed on oxygen right away. Kunal put out an SOS on social media when he couldn’t find any.
“However, there is a lot of black marketeering going on. “People approached me about selling cylinders for three or four times the original price,” Kunal said. He eventually got one from a personal friend.
“It’s horrifying how people take advantage of our helplessness,” he added.