Surat hospitals face acute oxygen shortage


Faced with acute shortage of oxygen, hospitals in Surat — including government-run ones — have threatened to stop admitting new patients if supply is not restored as cases soar amid several instances of patients reportedly dying without oxygen in the city and other places.

On Monday, leading doctors and representatives of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Surat urged the Chief Minister and other officials to immediately increase supply, as otherwise the lives of around 4,000 patients in various hospitals would be jeopardised.

“Over 4,000 patients are in around 400 private hospitals in the city. If supply is not restored immediately, hospitals will be forced to discharge patients,” said Nirmal Choraria, chief of COVID-19 task force of IMA Surat.

The medical body, in its representation to the Surat Municipal Commissioner and District Collector, has also warned of a law and order situation arising in the city if the supply was not restored as relatives of the patients were venting their anger at doctors and medical staff in hospitals.

Owing to the oxygen shortage, two prominent government hospitals in the city refused to admit new patients on Monday. The civil hospital and SMIMER hospital run by the municipal corporation on Monday did not take in new patients.

The doctors of Surat, in their plea, stated that the city needs 225 MT oxygen supply, against which it currently receives only 150 MT.

The Centre has fixed 1,000 MT oxygen quota for Gujarat but as the pandemic is sweeping through the State, the demand is much higher and increasing by the day.

According to the State government, there are around 52,000 patients under treatment on oxygen support in the State. As per the government’s own admission in the High Court, more than 50% of the total Covid-19 patients need oxygen support.

“The surge in cases led to a rise in demand of oxygen from 58MT on March 15 to 1000 MT on April 24. The State received the quota of 1000 MT on April 24, which was consumed in hospitals,” the Gujarat government submitted in its affidavit in the High Court, which is slated to hear an ongoing suo motu public interest litigation plea on COVID-19 situation in the State.

In Gujarat, more than 50 patients have reportedly died in Navsari, Surat, Banaskantha and Rajkot due to shortage of oxygen in the last 10 days.



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