Twenty-five "sickest patients" have died in the last 24 hours at Sir Ganga Ram hospital in Delhi, a statement from the hospital said this morning, revealing a worsening Covid crisis in the capital's hospitals. In an SOS at around 8 am, the hospital also said it had oxygen for only two more hours and that 60 more patients were at risk. Around two hours later, oxygen tankers arrived at the hospital.
"25 sickest patients have died in last 24 hours. Oxygen will last another two hours. Ventilators and BiPAP (ventilators for invasive treatment) not working effectively. Resorting to manual ventilation in ICUs and Emergency. Major crisis likely. Lives of another 60 sickest patients at risk, need urgent intervention," Ganga Ram's Director, Medical, said in a statement in the morning.
The hospital also said it needed oxygen to be airlifted urgently, but its top officers contradicted each other on whether the deaths, all of critical Covid patients, were because of oxygen shortage.
"Low oxygen concentration likely contributed to deaths of critical patients. Critical patients need high pressure, stable oxygen supply," Satendra Katoch, Medical Director, said.
But the hospital's chairman said while there had indeed been a large number of deaths in 24 hours for the first time, they could not be linked to oxygen shortage.
"I would not ascribe the deaths to oxygen shortage. A large number of patients are in serious condition in hospital. But we are facing severe oxygen shortage," chairman DS Rana told NDTV.
"We are doing manual ventilation to ensure patients survive. I am told oxygen has reached Delhi's border, should be reaching shortly."
Images later showed oxygen tanks arriving at the hospital.
Delhi: Oxygen tanker arrives at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the national capital after the hospital sends SOS pic.twitter.com/MLDiFm6vmq— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2021
Ganga Ram, one of Delhi's top private hospitals, is treating more than 500 Covid patients, according to reports. Of them, 142 are on high-flow oxygen support, the hospital says.
Several hospitals have, over the past three days, flagged a crisis of oxygen supply, beds and medicines amid rising Covid cases, and many have approached the Delhi High Court for help.
The court has asked the Centre to strictly follow its order to provide medical oxygen to Delhi and ensure safe passage to oxygen without obstructions. "Beg, borrow or steal," said the judges, warning the centre that "all hell would break loose" if hospitals ran out of oxygen.
Last evening, Delhi reported 26,169 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours; 306 deaths were reported, the highest in a day.
In a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said six private hospitals had exhausted their oxygen supply by Thursday evening. These were Rathi Hospital, Santom Hospital, Saroj Super Specialty Hospital, Shanti Mukand, Tirath Ram Shah Hospital and UK Nursing Home. Mr Sisodia alleged in the letter that neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were blocking oxygen supplies to Delhi.
At 8 pm on Thursday, Ganga Ram Hospital also told the government that it had only five hours of oxygen left.