The oxygen supply at the Zaki Hussain Hospital in Maharashtraâ€™s Nashik was halted for almost 30 minutes after the oxygen tanker just outside its premises reported a massive leak. As a result, at least 22 patients in the hospital died, said Nashik district Collector Suraj Mandhare.
Visuals from the hospital show the oxygen rapidly flowing out and engulfing the area in white fumes. The fire fighting team rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.
"As per the information available with us, 11 patients who were on ventilators at the hospital in Nashik have died. The leakage was spotted at the oxygen tank, which was supplying oxygen to these patients. The interrupted supply could be linked to the deaths of the 11 patients in the hospital," Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told ANI.
â€śDue to the valves leakage of the tanker in Nashik, there was massive Oxygen leakage. There must definitely have been an impact on the hospital it was going to but I am yet to gather more information. We will issue a press note after gathering more information,â€ť the minister said.
#WATCH | An Oxygen tanker leaked while tankers were being filled at Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, Maharashtra. Officials are present at the spot, operation to contain the leak is underway. Details awaited. pic.twitter.com/zsxnJscmBpâ€” ANI (@ANI) April 21, 2021
According to NDTV, about 30 patients, who were in urgent need of oxygen, were shifted to other hospitals. The incident comes at a time when most of the states in the country are facing a severe oxygen shortage. Many hospitals in Delhi are running out of oxygen supply. Several patients are dying, even before they reach the hospital or just outside the hospital as many are being turned away due to the shortage. While families of COVID-19 patients â€” both in home-isolation and admitted in hospitals â€” are scrambling to get oxygen cylinders, many have been found looting hospitals to get hold of oxygen cylinders.
A recent report by Money Control revealed that the Indian government exported about 9,300 metric tonnes of oxygen for industrial use between April and January in the financial year 2020-21. The country is now taking steps to import oxygen amid the shortage when the country is facing the second wave of COVID-19. The Scroll had also reported that the Union government floated tenders to set up plants to produce medical oxygen on site almost seven months after the pandemic started. Out of the 162 plants it planned to set up, only 33 are installed, the Union government said recently.
Currently, the Indian Railways is running an 'Oxygen Express' to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country.