BHAKTAPUR, MAY 12
Various hospitals in Bhaktapur district are struggling to save the lives of Covid-19 patients due to the shortage of medical oxygen.
Many hospitals in the district have been flooded with patients following the second wave of the infection.
Due to the shortage, many hospitals have refused to admit coronavirus patients.
Bhaktapur Hospital has run out of oxygen since Thursday night. They are still awaiting supply despite informing about the matter to the Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC), the Ministry of Health and the respective province ministry, said Dr Sumitra Gautam, Medical Superintendent at the Hospital.
According to Dr Gautam, Sagarmatha Oxygen Company had been supplying oxygen to the hospital. After the company stopped supplying oxygen to the hospital, it has been receiving oxygen from a Janakpur-based industry.
However, with the increasing demand for oxygen throughout the country, at least two days are required for the supply to arrive here, thus making the matters worse, added Dr Gautam.
According to the hospital administration, negligence of the CCMC is to be blamed for the fiasco as it has removed the hospital from the recommendation list for oxygen citing the hospital falls under provincial jurisdiction.
"The government has asked the hospital to run a 70-bed high care unit for coronavirus patients. But there is a lack of oxygen. How can we admit new patients in such situation?" Dr Gautam questioned.
At present, the hospital is providing treatment to 70 Covid-19 patients. It has consumed 200 oxygen cylinders in 24 hours as all coronavirus patients need oxygen support, said Gautam.
"As the hospital lacks oxygen, the lives of patients are at risk. The hospital cannot take responsibility in case of any untoward incident."
The provision that the CCMC's recommendation is needed for supply of oxygen to the hospitals has added to the woes, she added.
Nepal-Korea Friendship Municipality Hospital run by Madyapur-Thimi Municipality also lacks medical oxygen. The hospital had been using 70 oxygen cylinders per day. However, the CCMC has recommended a Kavrepalanchok-based oxygen plant to provide only 10 cylinders to the hospital, which is way lesser than what is required, said the municipality mayor Madan Sundar Shrestha.
The hospital has six ventilators, five intensive care units, 14 high care units and 18 emergency units. The hospital's situation reached such a stage that mayor Shrestha on Tuesday stepped in to collect oxygen cylinders to save the lives of 18 coronavirus patients.
He managed to procure the cylinders from the oxygen plant in Kavrepalanchok after his calls to the CCMC, the Health Ministry, Teku Hospital and various oxygen companies for the same went in vain, said Shrestha.
"Fifteen more beds have been added to the hospital following the increasing flow of Covid-19 patients.
However, these beds have yet to come into operation without oxygen. We are not at all equipped to admit new patients," he said. To ease the matter, the hospital would soon set up an oxygen plant, he said.
Bhaktapur Hospital is struggling without oxygen while many private hospitals are on the verge of closure, as a result of the shortage scenario, said Krishna Prasad Mijar, chief of Bhaktapur District Health Office.
Kathmandu Valley needs 15,000 litres of oxygen daily against the supply of only 7,000 litres, according to available data.
Some days ago, two Covid-19 patients died at Bhaktapur International Hospital apparently due to lack of oxygen. As a result, the hospital along with Madhyapur Hospital, Nagarik Community Hospital, Summit Hospital, Dr Iwamura Memorial Hospital and Siddhi Memorial Hospital have decided not to admit anymore coronavirus patients.