HYDERABAD: The governmental orders to not supply or refill oxygen cylinders for retail use has begun choking thousands of patients, who are relying on these sources as finding a bed in hospitals has become near impossible in the GHMC limits.
It is learnt that drug inspectors in three districts under the GHMC have issued verbal orders to oxygen suppliers, warning them not to cater to individuals but send their supplies only to hospitals. The worst impact is being felt after major plants like Pioneer, which supply upto 350 large oxygen cylinders to patients and small hospitals, have been asking for a letter from the Chief Secretary to procure oxygen.
“The decision was taken in order to prevent hoarding and black marketing. There are 17 major suppliers in Medchal who have only wholesale licences. We have given them verbal orders to not allow hoarding as some individuals were pre-booking and disrupting the supply chain,” said a Drug Inspector.
Anxious families of patients run around for refills after abrupt move
This abrupt move, however, has left families running around the city in anxiety to get their cylinders refilled. “My 60-year-old mother has been on oxygen support for a week now. She is now at a stage where if she has no oxygen, she will stop breathing. We have procured two cylinders and are refilling it twice a day making rounds to Bolarum, Kattedan and Jalpally to find some oxygen but everywhere they are turning us away,” said a desolate Mohammed Saleem, whose previous attempts to take his mother to hospitals like TIMS, NIMS, Kondapur District Hospital, failed.
In fact, several recovered Covid patients and patients with chronic COPD, who are also dependent on home based oxygen cylinders, say this decision denies them the right to breathe. “My mother has had COPD for more than 10 years. We have had a routine dealer in Hussaini Alam who got us cylinders every two to three days. Now the supply is totally disrupted. We used to head to Pioneer O2 plant in Bollaram, which refused re-filling from Tuesday. What should we do? Where do we go?” wonders Dr Masood M.
He urged the government to keep at least two refilling stations open for retail use and put in checks using prescriptions.
Meanwhile, volunteers in Hyderabad who have been working to procure various medical services to affected families are bracing themselves for the crisis to come.
“We have been directing all O2 requests to a few big suppliers like in Bollarum where almost all requests were fulfilled. However, they have now stopped the supply and are asking common citizens to get a letter of approval from the Chief Secretary. How can a common man get this? The government must urgently make alternate arrangements for home isolation patients,” said Sai Charan Chikkulla, a volunteer.