Hospital staff said they had to manage with just three oxygen cylinders due to a delay in supply from neighbouring Raichur.

Oxygen cylinder bankImage for representation | PTI
Coronavirus COVID-19 Sunday, May 02, 2021 - 18:00

On May 2, two COVID-19 patients in a private medical college hospital in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi district died due to an interruption in the supply of medical oxygen. This incident comes in the wake of medical oxygen shortage reported across the state and country. 

Speaking to TNM, Dr Zeenat, co-ordinator of oxygen arrangements at the Khaja Bandanawaz Hospital, said the two patients were already in a very critical condition. “We were changing the oxygen cylinder at the manifold. There was a gap of two-three minutes during that stage. These two patients who unfortunately succumbed were already in a very critical condition. Their lung CT Scan score was 21/25 and 23/25 respectively. The patients’ attenders are aware of this,” she told TNM,

“The problem is that our supplier (a private operator) was stopped by the Raichur Deputy Commissioner. Their tanker was made to stop for three days in Raichur. This led to the shortage. We need at least 10 cylinders running at all times attached to the manifold but we are made to manage with three. So when we have to change cylinders, there is a gap in supply to the patient momentarily,” she added. 

Following this tragedy, the Kalaburagi DC had launched an investigation by the health officers in the district. District health officials told TNM that this incident took place after the supply of oxygen cylinders that came from the neighbouring district of Raichur was halted by the officials there from April 28.

“The oxygen supplier used to get the cylinders refilled at Raichur and bring it to the KBN Hospital in Kalaburagi. But, on April 28, it was halted by the officials there, so the supplier couldn't supply more oxygen to the hospital,” said Bhandari, who is the district nodal officer for oxygen in Kalaburagi. He added that the situation has been resolved now and the hospital is getting the cylinders refilled by local suppliers.

When TNM contacted the officials at Raichur, they denied any wrongdoing and claimed that they did not have any information about private oxygen suppliers delivering to Kalaburagi.

“Every supplier has to give us the data on how many cylinders were refilled and where they were sent to. According to the data we have, there was no supply going to that particular hospital from Raichur. We do have two other hospitals that we supply to in Kalaburagi and that has been going on and it has never been halted,” said Venkatesh, nodal officer for oxygen in Raichur.

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