A few hospitals in Bengaluru reported a shortage of liquid oxygen supply for patients amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the city. One of the hospitals which reported a shortage was the Bangalore Institute of Gastroenterology (BIG) in Jayanagar in the city. On Saturday evening, doctors at the hospital decided to transfer out three of the eight COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital.
"We usually receive three cylinders every day but today we have received just one. The supplier is running out of stock. So we have decided to transfer out three of the eight patients in the ICU to other hospitals," an official in the hospital told TNM. According to the official, three more patients will be shifted out of the hospital for the same reason.
This was corroborated by the relative of one of the patients at the hospital who was shifted out on Saturday.
St. Philomena Hospital in Vivek Nagar in the city also reported a shortage of oxygen supply, but doctors at the hospital said that the situation was resolved and oxygen cylinders were arranged late on Friday.
On Saturday, the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) wrote to Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar highlighting an acute shortage of oxygen supply due to the increased demand in Bengaluru this week. "Some of the hospitals have close to zero stock and others are soon running out of stocks. The suppliers have either stopped supply or are not responding to deliver the required stocks," read the letter by PHANA to the Health Minister.
The association collected data from 18 hospitals in the city to check the status of oxygen supply. "As of now, thirteen hospitals reported that they will run out of their current stock of oxygen in the next 6 to 12 hours. Six hospitals said that they will run out of oxygen in under six hours. This is extremely worrying," Dr. Rajashekar YL, the secretary of PHANA said on Saturday evening.
The list of hospitals reporting a shortage of oxygen supply include smaller hospitals like Santosh Hospital, Blossom Hospital, NRR Hospital, Ananya Hospital, Axon Specialty Hospital, Good Health Hospital and Sri Sai Hospital. One hospital -Jeevika Hospital - told the association that it had run out of oxygen supply on Saturday.
PHANA officials met government officials on Saturday urging them to prioritise the need for oxygen supply in all hospitals in Bengaluru. In bigger hospitals, the oxygen supply is regulated through a centralised system connected by pipelines and not through a system of refilling cylinders.
A few of the bigger hospitals TNM reached out to said that they had adequate supply of oxygen on Saturday. MS Ramaiah Hospital, CV Raman General Hospital, St. John's Hospital, Manipal Hospital reported that they have adequate supply of oxygen and are monitoring the supply constantly. Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Friday said that the state government will order oxygen cylinders to ensure the supply will not be affected to government hospitals in the city.
St. John's Hospital in Bengaluru
Previously, in the first wave of the pandemic, Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) had reported a shortage in oxygen supply and 47 patients were shifted out of the hospital.
In the past week, Bengaluru hospitals have reported a surge in COVID-19 patients and hospitals like St. John's Hospital and Manipal Hospital reported that their capacity was almost full. Bengaluru recorded 11,404 COVID-19 cases on April 17, the highest single-day spike since the onset of the pandemic.
Starting from April 10, Bengaluru has reported 294 deaths of COVID-19 patients prompting the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to release an order that would reserve three more crematoriums for COVID-19 victims in addition to the existing four.
Hospitals in Bengaluru reported a shortage of Remdesivir earlier this week following which the Karnataka government placed a tender for 80,000 vials of the drug to ease the demand.