Family's tragic phone call as hospitals run out of oxygen

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·4-min read

Twelve people, including a doctor, have died after a hospital ran out of oxygen in a nation grappling with a rampant second wave of Covid-19.

Authorities in India confirmed 401,993 new cases in the previous 24 hours on Saturday – the highest daily count globally, after 10 consecutive days over 300,000.

Sunday brought 392,488 cases. 

Deaths from COVID-19 jumped by 3,689, taking the total toll in India to more than 215,000, according to federal health ministry data.

The situation in India is dire.

People are being turned away from hospitals, while several hospitals are running low or out of oxygen

The government are attempting to quash fear-mongering and deny the shortages are as severe as portrayed online, however hospital beds are scarce and people are dying on the street.

India has recorded 401,993 fresh Covid-19 cases in the first time and 3,523 deaths including 375 in Delhi in the last 24 hours amid an oxygen crisis. India's covid-19 tally has risen to 19,164,969. Source: Getty Images
India has recorded 401,993 fresh Covid-19 cases in the first time and 3,523 deaths including 375 in Delhi in the last 24 hours amid an oxygen crisis. India's covid-19 tally has risen to 19,164,969. Source: Getty Images

12 dead after small window without oxygen

The 12 people died at south Dehli's Batra Hospital on Saturday, due to the lack of oxygen supplies, NDTV reported.

Sudhanshu Bankata, executive director of Batra Hospital said liquid medical oxygen (LMO) ran out at 12.15pm and more supplies were received at 1.35pm.

"Eight people died either due to shortage of oxygen or not receiving oxygen on time,” Dr. Bankata said according to The Hindu.

Of those eight patients, six were admitted to the intensive care unit.

Later, four more patients died from complications due to lack of oxygen, he said.

 A general view over mass funerals at funeral pyres for COVID-19 victims at a makeshift cremation ground in New Delhi,  India, 01 May 2021.
India has reported a record number of 400,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day. Source: EPA

A family of a man who died due to oxygen shortages has revealed the tragic phone call they had with the hospital, hours before his death.

“We read on Twitter that there is an oxygen shortage and we phoned the hospital in the morning," Sanjay Seth's wife, Asha said according to The Hindu.

"They said his condition is not that good and asked us to come. We had two oxygen cylinders at home and we took them to the hospital.” 

Mr Seth, 57, died that afternoon another family member reportedly said if the hospital had of warned they family, they may have made it there 10 minutes earlier.

Kawaljeet Kaur Bhatia, 64, was another patient at the hospital who died due to the lack of LMO.

Her nephew, Ajeet Singh Bhatia, told NDTV his family brought oxygen cylinders to the hospital.

A senior citizen is being helped by his relatives after being discharged outside Guru Tech Bahuder Hospital in New Delhi. Source: Getty Images
A senior citizen is being helped by his relatives after being discharged outside Guru Tech Bahuder Hospital in New Delhi. Source: Getty Images

"My aunt... died because there was no oxygen," he said.

"Her lungs were very infected. She was on the ventilator. Since 8 am there was oxygen crisis... attendants of patients were running around."

According to the Time of India, 16 people died in two seperate incidents where oxygen supplies ran out in Andhra Pradesh.

At Anantapur Government General Hospital, 11 died due to low pressure in the oxygen pipeline, while five died at a hospital in Kurnool.

People desperate to get into hospitals

Desperate Covid patients, meanwhile, continued to arrive at hospitals on Saturday despite a shortage of beds.

Gasping for air, 62-year-old Vijay Gupta was turned away by Holy Family hospital, a non-profit private facility in the southeast of India's capital as all of its 385 beds being full.

Waiting outside the hospital his family and friends debated what to do try next.

"We have been roaming around since 6am looking for a bed," Gupta's friend Rajkumar Khandelwal said according to Reuters. 

"Where shall we go?"

And on Thursday, a 35-year-old woman died in the car park of a government-run hospital in Noida, as she pleaded for a hospital bed and oxygen, NDTV reported.

A fire in a hospital about 190 km south of Ahmedabad killed 16 coronavirus patients and two staff, the latest in a series of deadly accidents at hospitals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the families of the victims on Twitter, hours after he posted pictures of himself praying at a Sikh temple in capital New Delhi.

On Thursday, a 35-year-old woman who tested positive for Covid-19 died in a parking lot outside GIMS hospital in Noida.

A witness told NDTV Jagriti Gupta's landlord desperately tried to get her help, but "no one listened".

"Around 3:30 pm, she collapsed," the witness named Sachin said. 

"When the landlord ran to the reception to report that she is no longer breathing, the staff rushed outside and declared her dead."

With Reuters

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