GMC Anantnag increases bed capacity in isolation ward but without adequate oxygen supply

Another patient dies for want of facility, medics seek audit
GMC Anantnag [Source: Facebook@Gmc Anantnag]
GMC Anantnag [Source: Facebook@Gmc Anantnag]

Government Medical College (GMC) Anantnag here is increasing the bed capacity in the COVID isolation ward without providing adequate oxygen supply to the patients gasping for breath.

The hospital has 2000-liter oxygen plant and not more than ten patients in the isolation ward can be provided with high flow oxygen (45 to 60 liters per minute ) in one go.

As the second COVID wave hit J&K, the authorities designated 70 beds for the facility. Later, as more sick patients poured in, the bed capacity was increased to 100.

Now the facility has 120 beds.

"At present 120 COVID patients and 50 others are on oxygen support in the hospital – high flow, medium, and low flow. So, how can the plant suffice to the oxygen demand of all patients," a medic said.

He said, even the patients who are in dire need of high flow oxygen suffer due to the increased demand.

"Most of the time we see the saturation level of sick patients dipping drastically and their condition worsening for want of requisite oxygen supply. This is the reason of higher mortalities in the hospital," the medic explained.

Another medic said, not every bed has an oxygen point and many have to rely on bulk oxygen or medium cylinders available in the hospital.

"What if the plant develops a snag or there is a power failure? Do the authorities have any backup available? Are the bulk cylinders enough to deal with the crisis," he said.

The medic apprehend a disaster if the authorities do not tackle the oxygen crisis in the hospital.

Giving an example, he said recently the saturation level of one of the patients, Khurshid Ahmad Deen of Khanabal locality of Anantnag town on high-flow oxygen dipped to 58.

"His family somehow managed a bed in SKIMS and arranged a critical care ambulance provided to them by a voluntary organisation. As soon as she was put on oxygen flow available in an ambulance, the saturation went up to 91 and his condition improved. He is currently undergoing treatment at SKIMS. What does it signify," the medic said.

He said an audit committee should probe if the patients who authorities claim are on high-flow oxygen really get the required supply (60 liters per minute).

Yet again today, a video of a 60-year-old man from Kulgam admitted in the causality ward of the hospital, and gasping for breath, went viral.

The attendants accused the authorities of denying him the oxygen supply for several hours.

The man later died of cardiac arrest. The media cell of the hospital, later said, that the patients came to the hospital extremely sick.

"He was suffering from bi-lateral pneumonia and had respiratory failure. His saturation level was 50. We provided him oxygen mask and necessary treatment, however, the patient could not survive," the statement said.

Medical Superintendent (MS) GMC Annatnag, Dr Muhamad Iqbal Sofi admitted that they could provide high-flow oxygen to only 15 patients at a time.

However, he said the hospital had enough backup available.

"We have 200 bulk cylinders, out of which 60 are back up. They can last for around five hours in case of any technical fault or power failure in the plant," the MS said.

He said they had written to the Mechanical department to immediately install another 1000-liters per minute capacity oxygen plant already sanctioned to the hospital.

The hospital, till recently, had only 350 low capacity oxygen flow.

However, after the COVID wave intensified, 2000 liters (1000 each) were installed in two phases.

However, a medic said that the hospital needs at least 4500-liter capacity plant and more bulk cylinders.

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