Two COVID-19 patients, who were on life support, died due to a sudden shortage of oxygen at a private hospital in Deesa town of Gujarat's Banaskantha district on Wednesday, an official said. According to doctors, a similar tragedy was averted in Rajkot city, after a tanker carrying medical oxygen arrived in the nick of time before the hospital ran out of the life- saving gas.
Banaskantha district's health officer Jignesh Hariyani confirmed that two persons had died at Het ICU, a designated COVID-19 private hospital in Deesa. "As against the demand, we had oxygen stock till Tuesday and the new stock was ordered, which reached during the day. Two patients lost their lives in the intervening period due to shortage of oxygen," he said.
Officials have been on their toes to bring in medical oxygen from Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar, Hariyani said. Meanwhile, a relative of one the deceased patients claimed at least four patients had lost their lives due to abrupt disruption in the oxygen supply at the hospital.
"My father was admitted here. When I inquired about my father's low oxygen level during the day, doctors told me that the hospital was running out of oxygen. Apart from my father, three others have died due to shortage of oxygen since Tuesday night," one Bharat Patel told reporters outside the hospital. In Rajkot, a half-filled oxygen tank reached a designated COVID-19 hospital near Malaviya College in the nick of time, just as the hospital's supply ran out.
"Although we needed two tankers to fill our tanks, we settled for a half-full tanker because we were running out of oxygen for our patients. If we run out of oxygen, we may not get time to shift critical patients to other hospitals, as they can't survive for more than five to seven minutes," said Dr Shantanu Jivani of the facility in Rajkot.