AHMEDABAD: Several COVID-19 hospitals in Rajkot district of Gujarat have said that they have been facing acute shortage of medical oxygen, with some of them even expressing fear that the paucity of this life-saving gas might even result in death of patients if the situation does not improve.
Ironically, the Gujarat government had recently claimed in the high court that adequate medical oxygen was available in the state.
In Rajkot city, two critical patients admitted to Kundan Hospital died after the facility ran out of oxygen as alleged by their family members, even as the hospital management has denied the charge.
"The hospital did not have any oxygen for almost two hours during the night.
Two COVID-19 patients lost their lives due to oxygen shortage.
For the last three days, relatives have been arranging oxygen cylinders for the patients as the hospital was not interested," a relative told reporters on Friday.
However, the hospital claimed that the patients were already critical when they were admitted.
"The allegation that two patients lost their lives due to oxygen shortage is unfounded.
Both the patients were already critical and oxygen supply has nothing to do with their deaths," said Dr Manoj Sida of the hospital.
Meanwhile, Rajkot Collector Remya Mohan has ordered an inquiry into the allegations.
"I have ordered an inquiry into the allegations against Kundan Hospital.
A three-member committee, headed by a Sub Divisional Magistrate, would probe the matter," the collector said.
Some hospitals in Rajkot complained of oxygen shortage.
In a statement, the city-based Genesis Multispeciality Hospital, one of the COVID-19 hospitals, also declared that its oxygen stock was declining fast and the remaining stock would last for a couple of hours only.
The hospital said that critical patients could die in the absence of medical oxygen.
In Gondal town of Rajkot district, three designated COVID-19 hospitals claim that they are not getting enough supply of medical oxygen.
These designated hospitals are Krishna Multi Speciality Hospital, Shreeji Hospital and Shree Ram Hospital.
Of the total number of 70 coronavirus patients admitted to Krishna Hospital, 62 are on oxygen support, Dr Bharat Shingala said, adding that his hospital somehow managed 35 cylinders from other sources and from good samaritans in the morning just before the stock ended.
"The distributor is also overburdened because oxygen is in short supply.
Though we had sent two vehicles with empty cylinders for refill, our turn did not come even after 15 hours.
We somehow managed 35 cylinders in the morning.
Other hospitals are also facing the same issue," said Shingala, a leading doctor of Gondal.