Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 01 December 2021 12.07 AM IST

Delhi hospital says doctor among eight dead after it ran out of oxygen


NEW DELHI: Eight people, including a doctor, died at Delhi's Batra Hospital on Saturday afternoon after the facility ran out of medical oxygen - for the second time in the space of a week - at 11.45 pm.

Six of the eight were admitted to the hospital's ICU (intensive care unit) and two to the wards. The doctor who died has been identified as Dr RK Himathani, the head of the Gastroenterology unit.

Hospital officials told the Delhi High Court - holding a 11th straight day of hearings into the city's oxygen crisis - that tankers only reached the hospital at around 1.30 pm, meaning that around 230 critically ill patients were without oxygen for an hour and 20 minutes.

"We ran out of oxygen at 11.45 pm. Supply came at 1.30. We were out of oxygen for 1 hour and 20 mins," the hospital told the court.

"We hope no lives were lost," the court responded, to which the hospital said: "We have... including one of our own... one doctor."

"My aunt, Kawaljeet Kaur Bhatia, 64, died because there was no oxygen. Her lungs were very infected. She was on the ventilator. Since 8 am there was oxygen crisis... attendants of patients were running around. We brought oxygen cylinders..." Ajeet Singh Bhatia, 50, said.

"The government is trying but the pandemic is so big and there are so many patients... Yet I am requesting the government with folded hands to address this issue as soon as possible," he added.

This is the second time in a week that Batra Hospital has run out of medical oxygen. On April 24 the hospital received a last-minute re-supply that arrived minutes after its oxygen reserves ran out.

Earlier today Dr Sudhanshu Bankata, Batra's Executive Director, sent out a video SOS.

"We have just run out of oxygen... currently surviving on some cylinders. Over the next 10 minutes that will also run out. We are again in crisis mode. Delhi government is trying to help but their tanker is some distance away," he said.

AAP leader Raghav Chadha responded: "Our SOS cryogenic tanker carrying Liquid Medical Oxygen is reaching Batra Hospital within five minutes. Their regular supplier of oxygen has defaulted yet again due to alleged 'lack of oxygen supplies' and is being pulled up."

Batra Hospital is among several in the national capital battling a crippling oxygen shortage that has endangered the lives of thousands of Covid and non-Covid patients.

Last week 25 people at the city's Jaipur Golden Hospital died due to shortage of medical oxygen.

India has been hit by a devastating wave of Covid infections - daily new cases crossed the four-lakh mark this morning for a record global high. The surge in cases has left hospitals overworked, doctors traumatised, and resources like beds, medicines and oxygen in perilously short supply.

Delhi has recorded between 24,000 and 28,000 cases per day over the past two weeks, and has also reported record numbers of Covid-related deaths per day.

The city's quota of oxygen has been raised to 490 metric tonnes per day - against an estimated demand of around 700 MT - but supply is only around 400 MT, the state government said.

On Thursday the High Court questioned the centre, which allocates oxygen to states based on requirement, over the rationale used in that allocation.

The scale of the crisis has prompted the global community to step in, with oxygen concentrators, tankers and other equipment being flown in by the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the European Union and other countries.

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