A few patients admitted to Lifeline Rigid Hospital were asked to move to other hospitals citing a shortage of oxygen in the hospital recently. "We were asked to immediately look for oxygen beds in other hospitals as the patient was critical and the oxygen supply at the hospital would last only for a few hours. However, they retained the patient after oxygen supply was arranged by the government authorities, " said a caretaker of a patient at the hospital.
Vice President of Lifeline Rigid Hospitals in Kilpauk, Dr Natesh said that there was a temporary crisis of oxygen at the hospital. "We have overcome the problem now after the government authorities arranged for the refilling of our oxygen tanks. We usually get three tanks of liquid oxygen but we were getting only one or two for the past few days. We were backing up on the oxygen cylinders and their refilling also became a problem due to increased demand. But we have overcome that issue for now," said Dr Natesh.
MGM Healthcare had to stop admissions last Saturday as the hospital was short of oxygen. The hospital has been facing a crisis due to inadequate and last- minute supply.
"We have been receiving oxygen on a regular basis but it has been last-minute supply and our back-up supply would last for only about 5-6 hours. We had to stop admissions from Saturday noon and we restarted after things stabilised on Sunday. The supply has been disrupted as vendors notify that they cannot provide the complete supply of the required oxygen. We expect things to stabilize soon, " said Dr Navin Gnanasekaran, Associate Director of Medical Services at MGM Healthcare.
He adds that there are also challenges of logistics and transportation while procuring the oxygen supply from the private distributors. “Some temporary storage facilities should be built soon that can supply oxygen to the hospitals in times of crisis within half an hour or minimal time as the production plants are far away from the city,” Dr. Navin said.
Several hospital managements also point out that sometimes they allow patients to arrange for cylinders if other efforts fail.
"Vendors and private suppliers are only giving about 25 percent of the oxygen we demand. It is becoming difficult to manage the oxygen requirements for patients, despite having a storage capacity of more than 236 KL," said Hariharan, a representative from the MIOT Hospital.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that the oxygen audit is being planned for the State to ensure that the production and supply are planned efficiently. “In case of emergencies, the hospitals can approach the Unified Command Centre and appropriate arrangements will be made to help them in time of crisis,” he said.