Kadapa hospitals battle oxygen bed crisis

District has 1,012 O2 and 419 non-oxygen beds, but none of them vacant; several private hospitals are overcharging

Published: 22nd May 2021 09:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd May 2021 09:04 AM   |  A+A-

Oxygen beds | Madhav K

Express News Service

KADAPA: Amid the government’s efforts to strengthen bed capacity at hospitals, Covid-19 patients in Kadapa district still have to run from pillar to post in search of beds. Kadapa government general hospital has reportedly run out of oxygen beds, and those seeking admission there have to instead opt for private institutions. 

Three days ago, a woman from Shankarapuram area in Kadapa town saw her oxygen level falling steeply after testing positive for Covid-19. Even with recommendations, her family could not find an oxygen bed for her at the GGH as well as at Fathima Institute of Medical Sciences, also authorised to treat Covid cases. After having enquired with every private hospital in the town, the family finally found one. However, the relatives themselves had to arrange four oxygen cylinders for the women. It took nearly six hours for them to find a bed. 

A middle-aged person in Nakash street of Kadapa tested positive a week ago. After not being able to hospitalise him, his family had to arrange liquid oxygen on their own even as he hoped to get better from the confines of his house. Two days later, the man’s oxygen saturation levels fell, after which the family approached a private hospital which charged `1 lakh as deposit for admission.The situation has led to some institutions fleecing the public. The health department recently raided four clinics run by a regional medical practitioner in Pendlimarri for offering Covid treatment without permission. 

Though the state government has been repeatedly stating that the treatment under YSR Aarogyasri is free, several private hospitals are overcharging patients citing that the limit set by the government is not sufficient. Apart from RIMS (Kadapa GGH), Fathima Institute of Medical Sciences, Proddatur GGH and Pulivendula area hospital, a total of 20 hospitals in the district offer Covid treatment. Even though they have 1,012 oxygen and 419 non-oxygen beds, none of them were vacant (as on Friday). 

Till a couple of weeks ago, the district reported the least number of single-day spike in Covid cases. However, the surge has since risen and now the district is recording between 1,000 and 2,000 infections every day.Though the two major hospitals — Kadapa GGH and FIMS — are not facing a shortage of doctors, the increasing caseload is surely straining the hospital resources. “We are doing our best to treat the patients. However, there is a fear that the virus may spread among us,” said a young doctor on duty at Kadapa GGH. 

The foremost fear among the hospital is oxygen supply. While the district produces 3KL of liquid oxygen everyday, it is supplied 17.5 KL against the requirement of 29.61 KL.  “Efforts are being made to bridge the gap, and we have notified higher-ups about the need for more oxygen as cases continue to grow,” a senior district official told TNIE. A district-level oxygen ‘war room’ has been established, which is tasked with auditing, and taking measures to prevent wastage of the supply, joint collector CM Saikanth Verma said. “The committee is keeping track of requirement, availability and supply of oxygen . Nodal officer P Yadhubushan Reddy said nine CCCs in the district also act as a temporary arrangement for those who require oxygen beds. 


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