Doctors at COVID hospitals across Lumbini say that the hospitals are unable to admit new patients due to lack of oxygen.

"We had run out of beds but were still admitting new patients and treating them by even keeping them on the floor and other places. Now that we are also facing shortage of oxygen, there is no way we can admit more patients," said Lumbini Provincial Hospital's Information Officer Dr Bishnu Gautam, adding that the hospital was also facing shortage of manpower and other medical items.

Besides the provincial hospital, COVID Special Hospital run by the provincial hospital at a thread factory has also witnessed shortage of oxygen.

Some 114 COVID-19 patients were being treated at both of these hospitals this afternoon. According to sources, 600 cylinders are required for treatment of these patients on a daily basis. "Only half of the required oxygen cylinders is being supplied to us," said the provincial hospital's store department employee Ruplal Panthi.

Similarly, Rupandehi's Bhim Hospital and Universal Medical Hospital are also facing shortage of oxygen cylinders.

They too are reported to be reluctant to admit new patients citing oxygen crunch. More than 150 patients are undergoing treatment at these hospitals now. Currently, Shankar Oxygen, Lumbini Oxygen and HO Oxygen have been supplying the vital commodity to these hospitals. Apparently, they are unable to supply oxygen cylinders as per the demand.

As hospitals here are reluctant to admit new patients citing the oxygen crunch, families have been forced to take COVID patients to places such as Pokhara, Kathmandu and Chitwan.

Meanwhile, preparations are on to increase the production capacity of the oxygen plant by repairing the existing one at Lumbini Provincial Hospital.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 7, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.