Oxygen Crisis Continues at Goa Medical College, 8 More Dead | India News
PANAJI: The dark hour between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. claimed eight more lives on Saturday due to oxygen fluctuations in Goa College of Medicine, bringing the number of Covid patients killed due to the oxygen crisis at the main government hospital to 83 over the past five days.
While the GMC Doctors were reluctant to directly attribute the deaths to erratic oxygen supply, nurses, patient relatives and volunteers confirmed to TOI that transient drops in oxygen were noted overnight.
“We cannot directly say that this is the reason (oxygen supply interruption) why they died. Most patients die from Covid pneumonia and oxygen is an important part of the treatment, ”said GMC Dean Dr. SM Bandekar.
A log of drops in the central oxygen pipeline maintained by GMC showed that 13 rooms reported a drop in oxygen supply, with the longest drop recorded in room 143 lasting 90 minutes. However, the availability of oxygen cylinders helped prevent more casualties, medical staff said.
Among the few who did not make it through the night was a 53-year-old man, the sole breadwinner in the family, who lost his life around 2:50 a.m. “I got a call around 1:30 am saying that the oxygen saturation was dropping and was at 60%. At that moment I lost hope, ”said a family friend.
“At 4 in the morning, my aunt died due to Covid at GMC. The night before (Friday) something went wrong with the oxygen, ”said another individual, who also lost his cousin a few days earlier.
Bandekar said that all critically ill Covid patients are referred to GMC and 160 of them are hooked up to ventilators. “But how do you show that the disruptions have caused these deaths?” he said.
Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the drop in oxygen supply cannot be correlated with deaths. But on Tuesday, Rane himself had said that up to 26 patients had died due to oxygen shortages at GMC.
He said that many more patients had also died before and that the higher court should conduct an investigation to find out why it was happening.
Saturday’s daily medical bulletin said 58 Covid patients lost their lives in the past 24 hours and 33 of the deaths occurred at the GMC itself. The deaths also brought Goa’s Covid death count to more than 2,000, with doctors saying this may not yet be the peak of the second wave for Goa.
Goa’s positivity rate, which remains the highest among the country’s states at 42%, only serves to back up doctors’ fears. The territory of the Union of Puducherry, at 42.3%, it is just slightly above Goa.
After a strong reprimand from the Bombay High Court in Goa, the state government seems to have finally understood the gravity of the situation and has rushed to install a 23,000-liter liquid medical oxygen plant, which has undergone tests. within 48 hours after the start of work.
On Wednesday, hearing a series of PILs on managing Covid and the oxygen crisis, a bench of judges Mahesh Sonak and Nitin Sambre ordered the state government to ensure that no more lives were lost due to the oxygen crisis.
The Goa Forward Party, which is one of the petitioners in the high court, also continued to pressure the BJP government.
“The midnight murders continue. Eight other Goans have lost their lives, leaving Goa devastated and desperate. This serial murder of the Goans has got to end. The Goa government and the prime minister Pramod sawant must answer for this disaster, “he said GFP President Vijai Sardesai.
“The opposition can make big claims, but I call on them to tell us if they have any suggestions for dealing with the situation. This is not an easy situation to deal with, ”Rane said.
To try to reduce the burden on GMC, health authorities have transferred 350 Covid-19 patients to the superspecialities block, which has a separate medical oxygen plant. GMC relies on a time-consuming and cumbersome tractor-cart system for oxygen replenishment. Doctors said the transient drops in oxygen are due to the change of the tractor cars.
“I called around 3 am and the staff on duty said the non-invasive ventilators were beeping to show that the oxygen supply was decreasing. However, they said they have backup cylinders and that there were police personnel who would raise the issue with authorities if the number of backup cylinders were less than three. It was not as bad as the previous days, ”said Conrad Barreto, one of the volunteers who has been helping during the pandemic.
A reduction to the single digits in the number of deaths from Covid-19 in the dark hour offered a ray of light for the state. At 3,512, recoveries outnumbered new cases and offered doctors and stakeholders a respite. Government officials said the “statewide curfew” may be starting to pay off.