Karnataka to set up oxygen plants at all hospitals: Minister
Bengaluru: In wake of two incidents of oxygen-dependent coronavirus patients being shifted at midnight to different hospitals due to supply disruptions, the Karnataka government on Tuesday said that it is working to set up oxygen plants at all hospitals in the state.
“We are taking measures to establish oxygen plants at all hospitals across the state. We are in contact with private firms which supply liquid oxygen… the Principal Secretary, Industry Department is in touch with them,” Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said.
On Tuesday, the minister visited the Kempe Gowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), which shifted all of its oxygen dependent coronavirus patients to other hospitals as it ran out of liquid oxygen late on Monday night, and reviewed the hospital’s infrastructure and treatment facilities for coronavirus patients.
“There are some issues with the supply of oxygen to hospitals as there is a huge demand. I have directed the officials to make necessary arrangements to ensure adequate supply of liquid oxygen to all hospitals in the state,” Sudhakar said.
This was the second such case following a similar incident in the C.V. Raman hospital in Indiranagar from where 17 patients were shifted to other hospitals.
“As the number of cases have increased, there is a scarcity of oxygen at all the hospitals. KIMS has also faced that situation yesterday (Monday) and patients were shifted to Bowring and Victoria hospitals immediately,” said Sudhakar, adding that the demand for oxygen rose by 4-5 times due to the pandemic.
KIMS hospital has a liquid oxygen plant but it is receiving only half the supply due to the rising demand.
“I have instructed officials to ensure adequate supply of liquid oxygen to all government hospitals and medical colleges,” he said.
Oxygen shortage problems are, however, not seen yet seen in the districts as coronavirus cases were not as high as in Bengaluru, which is the state’s epicentre of the pandemic with the maximum cases and deaths.
Due to the demand, the price of oxygen has also risen, and Sudhakar said that the government will regulate prices, if needed, at the state level.
“For regulating the cost in case of vendors from other states, we may have to approach the Central government,” he added.
Sudhakar also said that he asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help set up more liquid oxygen plants in the state when he last interacted with him in a video conference.