Patients gasp for oxygen at GMC Anantnag

‘High-flow plant unable to provide uninterrupted oxygen supply’
Relatives of covid patients carrying oxygen cylinder. [Image used for representational purpose only]
Relatives of covid patients carrying oxygen cylinder. [Image used for representational purpose only]

The doctors at Government Medical College (GMC) Anantnag here are struggling to keep the COVID-19 infected patients breathing as the authorities have failed to provide uninterrupted oxygen supply.

The 1000 Lpm capacity plant made operational last month was likely to provide high-flow oxygen to at least 30 patients at a time in the 70-bedded COVID isolation ward.

However, a medic said that the plant was unable to maintain the flow constantly as a result of which the saturation level of the patients dips often.

"This can prove to be fatal for the patients," he said.

A medic said that the authorities do not even bother to keep bulk oxygen cylinders as a backup in order to put them to use once the high-flow oxygen is interrupted.

"If you are not able to provide uninterrupted high-flow supply, then what is the fun of running the plant," he said.

Another medic said, a critical care team could have been useful in such situations.

"Along with  trained mechanical engineering team,  anaesthetists from the critical unit could together help in providing uninterrupted high-flow oxygen supply, but their services are not being availed," he said.

A medic said that it seems that the high-flow nasal cannula too was defective, interrupting the oxygen supply.

Earlier in the day, a video of a woman gasping for breath in the isolation ward went viral causing outrage among the netizens who rued the callous approach of the authorities.

"The high-flow oxygen plant is  a joke.The patients have been left to die at the isolation ward of GMC Anantnag," an attendant of the patient wrote on Facebook.

He said that the nursing orderlies do not attend to the patients at all, and it was the attendants who have to manage everything from monitoring saturation to providing medicines and getting their investigations reports.

However, Principal GMC Anantnag, Dr Showkat Jeelani said that the patients are getting regular oxygen supply.

"At times we face certain issues, but the plant is functioning and we are providing uninterrupted oxygen supply to the patients," Dr Jeelani said.

The Mechanical Engineering department would be installing  one more 1000 Lpm oxygen generation plant within a few days and another one of the same capacity in a month's time.

The entire plant has been procured at a cost of Rs 10 crore.

However, a medic said that the need was to increase the supply points in the hospital.

"There is also a need of more bulk oxygen cylinders," he said.

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