In Jammu, GMCH suffers from acute shortage of oxygen as COVID-19 cases rise

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Amid an increased rush at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Jammu due to rising number of COVID-19 cases, the hospital is facing an acute shortage of oxygen, reported Daily Excelsior.

Quoting unidentified sources, the newspaper reported that the consumption of oxygen has increased several times due to increased inflow of patients and the existing Oxygen Plant of the Hospital is unable to bear the increased patient load. They said in last three-four days, several patients have been affected due to non-availability of oxygen in Isolation Ward, Emergency Unit, ICU and CCU of the Hospital and around 400-500 oxygen cylinders are being purchased by the Hospital administration on daily basis but that too are unable to fulfill the oxygen demand in the Hospital.

Sources also attributed death of some COVID-19 patients admitted in Isolation Ward to low pressure of oxygen. And newspaper added that the Jammu province is yet to witness the worst COVID situation and in the coming days, the patient load and the demand of the oxygen will further shoot up in GMCH Jammu.

In the latest incident, a man died today due to sudden drop in oxygen pressure in Emergency Unit of the Hospital, leading to strong protest by his wife who accused the hospital authorities for the death of his husband. The newspaper reported that the wife cried “call the CMO, why oxygen is not there” but CMO office was deserted and the doctors were seen hiding to protect themselves from any aggression of the woman.

Sources regretted that the capacity of existing oxygen plant of GMC Jammu is only 1200 LPM and presently the consumption is even more than 6000 LPM and that is why even after procuring 400-500 cylinders daily from the market, the administration is unable to ensure smooth supply of oxygen in Isolation Ward, Emergency Unit, ICUs and CCUs.

“Further, CD Hospital (designated Level 2) and Psychiatric Hospital (designated Level 3) have no existing oxygen plant support system while SMGS Hospital Jammu (designated Level 1) is also reeling under shortage of oxygen with having only 500 LPM capacity oxygen plant presently.”

They said that for want of uninterrupted oxygen supply from the existing oxygen plant, 33 high-end ventilator supported beds in High Dependency Ward could not be made functional. Elaborating more, they said that 156 ventilators were provided by Government of India (48 in the month of March and 109 in April) for effective management of critically sick COVID-19 patients and out of them 33 were installed in High Independency Ward while rest 76 high end ventilators are still non-operational in the GMC Jammu.

When contacted, Principal, GMCH Jammu, Dr Nasib Chand Digra told the newspaper that due to COVID-19, patient load and oxygen demand has increased several times in the Hospital. He said they are purchasing 400-500 cylinders on daily basis only for GMC Jammu and trying to procure more and more as the demand is much more. He said they have taken up the issue with Administrative Department which has given nod to upgrade the existing oxygen plants and install new plants in CD Hospital as well as Psychiatric Hospital, which lacks this facility.

Replying to the question regarding 176 high-end ventilators received from Government of India, Dr Digra said that 33 ventilators have been installed in High Dependency Ward of GMCH but being high-end ventilators, they could not be made functional as they require more than 97-99 pc oxygen saturation to function while as the existing oxygen plant provides 85 to 90 pc saturation or concentration.

Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma in a meeting held yesterday with IGP Jammu Mukesh Singh, DC Jammu Sushma Chauhan, Principal GMCH Jammu and others directed Director Industries Department Jammu to nominate Joint Director of her department to supervise and ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen gas to GMCH Jammu in liaison with various oxygen supply units. He also requested IGP Jammu to issue necessary instructions for uninterrupted movement of the vehicles carrying oxygen gas cylinders upto their destination.

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