COVID-19 in Mumbai: Timely refill of oxygen supply saved 61 critical patients

Timely refilling of oxygen at a hospital in Ghatkopar (West) helped save the lives of 61 critical COVID-19 patients. After being notified about the shortage of oxygen supply, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) managed to refill the supply to HJ Doshi Hindu Mahasabha Hospital in Ghatkopar in less than one and half hour, civic officials said.

There are a total of 50 patients on oxygen beds and another 11 patients on ventilator beds at the Hindu Mahasabha Hospital currently. While oxygen was on the verge of getting over, the staff and management immediately notified the civic headquarters about the crisis. "Information about the shortage of oxygen at the Ghatkopar hospital was notified on Wednesday 5 pm. Our officials got in touch with the ward officials and managed to mobilise resources and arrange for oxygen from another nearby ward by 6.15 pm. All the 61 patients are safe," said Iqbal Singh Chahal, BMC commissioner.

Last week, 168 patients from six BMC hospitals had to be urgently relocated to other hospitals/facilities post-midnight after a shortage of oxygen was reported in the hospitals they were admitted in. To avoid such incidents, BMC, on Monday, decided to monitor oxygen supply at all the private and civic hospitals. Oxygen supply and stock are now being monitored every hour with the help of Google Drive.

"The initiative of monitoring the oxygen supply has proved to be helpful and a life-saving measure. This will keep us aware of the stock across the city. We can act quickly like it was seen in this case," added Chahal.

A total of nine jumbo cylinders from the S ward (Bhandup and Kanjurmarg) were rushed to the hospital. In addition to this, the hospital's regular oxygen supplier delivered four dura cylinders to the hospital later. By adding the supply together, the immediate oxygen supply was maintained. Besides this, 15 jumbo cylinders were immediately sent from the N ward (Ghatkopar and Vikhroli west) as a backup. "Ambulances were also provided if needed to evacuate patients at the last minute. However, after the oxygen supply was restored on time, the ambulances were not needed," said a senior BMC official.

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