After writing on Twitter that it had less than an hour's worth of oxygen left for its Covid-19 patients on Friday morning, Max Healthcare, a prominent Indian hospital group, said two of its hospitals in the capital received emergency supplies, but that they would only last two hours.
Public and health officials in New Delhi have been raising the alarm about the acute shortage of oxygen supplies at hospitals, despite the increased allocation of those supplies amid the devastating second wave of the pandemic.
Max Healthcare is one of the medical groups that successfully petitioned the Delhi High Court to divert oxygen supplies to hospitals on Wednesday. The central government has since placed a temporary ban on the use of oxygen for industrial activities and diverted the supplies for medical care.
Sunil Saggar, CEO of the Shanti Mukand hospital in New Delhi, told local media that six private hospitals in Delhi ran out of oxygen on Thursday, including the Shanti Mukand.
We are a hospital -- we are supposed to give life. If we cannot give oxygen...if the patient comes to the hospital, the patient will die," Saggar said.
A Thursday press statement from the prime minister’s office said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Thursday to review oxygen supplies, noting that the demands of 20 Indian states had been met.
The statement added that the government was able to allocate 6,822 metric tons of oxygen, when only 6,785 metric tons had been requested.
The government had been warned of the country’s oxygen shortages back in November when consumption quickly increased during the first phase of the pandemic.
A parliamentary committee highlighted that oxygen use for medical purposes had increased from 1000 metric tons a day to 3000 metric tons during the pandemic’s previous peak.
Industrial use of oxygen counted for 6000 metric tons before the pandemic, according to the committee's report.