KATHMANDU, May 8: As the number of COVID-19 patients requiring medical attention continues to grow, hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley have started witnessing an acute shortage of medical oxygen, unable to provide any medical support to even patients in critical condition.
The hospital administrators said their regular suppliers have not been able to ensure a smooth flow of oxygen for the past five days as the amount of oxygen they supplied during normal times has increased manifolds lately.
Medical Director of Karuna Hospital in Chunikhel, Budhanilkantha, Dr Saugat Paudyal said they are preoccupied with the fear of possible disruption of oxygen supply these days as an adequate amount of oxygen is not reaching them these days. “We just had a shortage of oxygen. We used a number of contacts including government officials. But there was no help. We have somehow managed to get oxygen for now,” he told Republica.
Dr Paudyal said the lack of oxygen is more severe than the lack of beds. “We have a total of 45 patients currently undergoing treatment. While 14 patients are undergoing treatment in the Intensive Care Unit, 20 other patients with moderate symptoms are also in need of oxygen support. Our emergency wards are also fully-packed,” he said. “Although we need 80 to 85 oxygen cylinders a day, our suppliers have not been able to supply them for the last five days.”
Hospital administrators said they are unable to admit any new patients for the lack of medical oxygen. Recently, Kist Hospital in Gwarko and Vayodha Hospital in Balkhu faced a similar shortage of oxygen. “If you ask, almost all hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley have started facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen,” said Dr Paudyal.
The COVID-19 cases in Kathmandu have seen a sharp spike in recent days. The Valley recorded as many as 4,106 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday alone. Of them, 3,089 were detected in Kathmandu, 374 in Bhaktapur and 643 in Lalitpur districts.
Meanwhile, four hospitals --Medicare Hospital Limited, Nepal-India Friendship Hospital, Dirghayu Guru Hospital and Research Center and Helping hands Community Hospital --in a joint statement on Saturday said that they will provide service to limited number of patients until the supply of oxygen cylinders comes to the normalcy.
NC asks govt to immediately ensure smooth supply of medical oxygen, beds
The main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), has asked the government to ensure a smooth and adequate supply of oxygen to all hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley.
Issuing a press statement on Saturday, NC Joint General Secretary Prakash Sharan Mahat drew the attention of the government saying that hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley have started experiencing an acute shortage of medical oxygen. While stating that hospitals outside the Kathmandu Valley have also started witnessing similar situations, Dr Mahat asked the government to be sensitive toward the issue facing the ordinary people.
Dr Mahat has also drawn the attention of the government toward taking necessary initiatives to ensure adequate beds in the hospitals so that patients do not have to die for failing to get admission in hospitals. “Nepali Congress demands the government immediately address the serious issue of oxygen shortage, take action against those creating an artificial shortage of goods and import oxygen and oxygen cylinders from abroad as needed,” he said in the statement.