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“25 sickest patients have died”: Delhi’s Ganga Ram hospital’s oxygen SOS

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date
“25 sickest patients have died”: Delhi’s Ganga Ram hospital’s oxygen SOS

New Delhi: 25 sickest COVID-19 patients have died in the last 24 hours at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.In an SOS at around 8 am, the hospital said it had oxygen for only two more hours and that 60 more patients are at risk. Around two hours later, oxygen tankers arrived at the hospital.

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“25 sickest patients have died in last 24 hours. Oxygen will last another two hours. Ventilators and BiPAP (ventilators for invasive treatment) not working effectively. Resorting to manual ventilation in ICUs and Emergency. Major crisis likely. Lives of another 60 sickest patients at risk, need urgent intervention,” Ganga Ram’s Director, Medical, said in a statement in the morning.

The hospital also said it needed oxygen to be airlifted urgently, but its top officers contradicted each other on whether the deaths, all of critical Covid patients, were because of oxygen shortage.

“Low oxygen concentration likely contributed to deaths of critical patients. Critical patients need high pressure, stable oxygen supply,” Satendra Katoch, Medical Director, said.

“I would not ascribe the deaths to oxygen shortage. A large number of patients are in serious condition in hospital. But we are facing severe oxygen shortage,” chairman DS Rana told media.

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“We are doing manual ventilation to ensure patients survive. I am told oxygen has reached Delhi’s border, should be reaching shortly.”

Images later showed oxygen tanks arriving at the hospital.

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Ganga Ram, one of Delhi’s top private hospitals, is treating more than 500 Covid patients, according to reports. Of them, 142 are on high-flow oxygen support, the hospital says.

Several hospitals have, over the past three days, flagged a crisis of oxygen supply, beds and medicines amid rising Covid cases, and many have approached the Delhi High Court for help.

HC had ordered the Centre to ensure oxygen supply to Delhi

On Thursday, the Delhi High Court had asked the Centre to implement its order strictly for allocating medical oxygen to the national capital and ensuring a safe passage to oxygen without facing any obstruction.

A Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rakha Palli said that if the government wants, they can make “heaven and earth meet”. “Beg, borrow or steal,” said the judges, warning the centre that “all hell would break loose” if hospitals ran out of oxygen.

The Court further noted that non-compliance with the said order can cause a great loss of human life, and warned that non-compliance or violation of the court’s order will invite criminal action.

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Last evening, Delhi reported 26,169 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours and 306 deaths, the highest in a day.

In a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said six private hospitals had exhausted their oxygen supply by Thursday evening. These were Rathi Hospital, Santom Hospital, Saroj Super Specialty Hospital, Shanti Mukund, Tirath Ram Shah Hospital and UK Nursing Home. Mr Sisodia alleged in the letter that neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were blocking oxygen supplies to Delhi.

At 8 pm on Thursday, Ganga Ram Hospital also told the government that it had only five hours of oxygen left.

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