The increasing number of Covid-19 cases has resulted in a considerable shortage of oxygen in the hospitals of Bihar, particularly Patna. The Oxygen shortage is to the extent that several deaths are occurring due to lack of it, and a few private hospitals have even started asking patients to bring their own oxygen cylinders along with them. Similar is the case of two of the biggest Covid-19 hospitals of Patna, Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) and Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS). According to the hospital officials, both hospitals have reported having less than two days stock of oxygen supply.
Dr Vinod Kumar Singh, superintendent of NMCH, said that the hospital has been under tremendous pressure due to the lack of working staff and shortage of oxygen supply. The NMCH has 500 beds for Covid patients, but on Monday, it reported to have only a few vacant beds left. Owing to the lack of oxygen, Dr Singh has requested the Health Department of the State to relieve him of the charge of the hospital as he does not want to be responsible for the death of any patient on account of oxygen shortage. Two recent incidents of misbehavior with junior doctors by the members of the patient's family have made the hospital hesitant to admit more patients.
Sixteen other hospitals of Patna, namely a few being Royal Hospital, Park Surgicals, Himalaya Hospital, Samay Hospital, Capital Hospital, Nidan Hospital, Siddharth Hospital and Tara Hospital, have reported a critical shortage of oxygen. These hospitals are also refraining from admitting new patients and are asking a few patients to look for alternative arrangements for treatment.
Rajesh Kumar, who is a relative of a patient admitted at Samay Hospital, said that the hospital officials were asking him to search for another hospital as they were running short on oxygen supply. "We were asked to look for another hospital. We are looking to organise an oxygen cylinder to keep him at the hospital," said Rajesh in a conversation with The Indian Express.
In Kankarbagh hospital, where there remains a similar shortage of oxygen, a doctor on the recent death of four patients said, "It is true that we have very little oxygen in stock, but the patients who died had other complications as well".
Considering this situation, Mangal Pandey, State Health Minister, said: "We are trying to deal with oxygen shortage on a war footing. The Centre has already increased our quota. We are getting oxygen to hospitals…. We are also getting 14,000 vials of Remdesivir from Gujarat."