Hyderabad: The increase in beds to admit Covid-19 patients at Hyderabad's Osmania General Hospital (OGH) has led to difficulties in an oxygen shortage. Doctors are using bulk oxygen cylinders to cope with the requirement.
The temporary in-charge superintendent of the hospital, Dr Pandu Naik said the situation has arisen because the hospital added an extra 100 oxygen beds for Covid-19 suspect patients. He added that there was no need for any panic.
However, another doctor at the hospital said, “The oxygen situation leaves much to be desired. We are struggling to keep patients going with the low pressure of oxygen that is available through the pipelines.”
He added, “The best we are able to do is to make available four to six litres of oxygen per minute for most of the patients in the Covid-19 wards. Some of them with really low oxygen levels require 12-14 litres per minute.”
Most of the Covid-19 suspect patients admitted at OGH are experiencing blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels of 40, 50, 60 and 70, it is learnt. The minimum SpO2 levels should be 95, which indicates good lung function.
According to one doctor, anyone with less than an SpO2 level of 85 needs 8-10 litres of oxygen per minute, those whose levels are between 85-90 need six litres and those with 90 or more need four litres. “With nearly everyone on supplementary oxygen, we are unable to maintain these pressures. Several of the patients are aged people with serious co-morbidities and we are losing some of them,” the doctor said.
It was learnt that the hospital had just three Continuous Positive Air Pressure machines in the Covid-19 wards, which the doctors say are not enough. Also, a doctor said, “we just have two nurses on duty in each shift for all of the patients. We need one nurse for every four patients but the contract nursing staff have been on strike.”
Dr Naik said work was on to increase the diameter of the oxygen supply pipes in the Covid-19 wards and that the issue was taken to the notice of the Director of Medical Education and the state government.
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