The lives of 430 Covid-19 patients at Ashutosh Multi-Specialty Hospital in the city of Surat in the western Indian state of Gujarat are at risk as the hospital has only three hours’ worth of oxygen left, a senior doctor at the hospital told CNN on Tuesday.
“There is a trickle of oxygen that is coming but the rush and the queues of people who take oxygen are so huge that the distribution may take maybe six or eight hours to get supply because the shortage is tremendous,” Dr. Rajivraj Chaudhary of Ashutosh Multispeciality Hospital told CNN.
The hospital’s staff have been “moving from one supplier to another supplier since last night to try to procure additional oxygen,” Chaudhary said. “It's very worrisome," he added.
Chaudhary also told families they might want to move their relatives to another hospital because of the precariously low oxygen supplies, saying “We have told relatives that we are running low on oxygen so if you get any alternative place where oxygen is available we would be happy to help you move them.”
But the situation in Surat’s private hospitals is dire across the board and many of them, including Ashutosh Multispeciality Hospital, have started turning patients away, according to Nirmal Choraria, the chairman of the Indian Medical Association’s Covid-19 Action Committee in Surat.
The entire city has been facing a critical shortage in oxygen since Sunday and its 400 private hospitals are struggling. They require about 110 metric tons of oxygen. On Tuesday, they received 20 or 30 metric tons less than what was needed, Choraria added.
“Supply is not still guaranteed or confirmed,” Choraria said, adding that critical patients throughout the city have been unable to find a hospital bed.
“They are moving from one place to another place...if we can’t improve the situation it will definitely affect the mortality,” Choraria said.