Covid patients on ventilator at a hospital in Nashik are virtually on the edge of survival with the city running out of oxygen supply. The family of an elderly patient was asked to move her to another hospital as there was enough oxygen for just a few more hours.
This is the latest fallout of a snowballing crisis in Maharashtra, the virus epicenter of India, where a surge in cases has been exacerbated by depleting vaccine stocks and a shortage of oxygen cylinders and medicines over the past few days.
Archana Vyavahare said her mother Sumant Kasture, 73, had been in hospital for 17 days and had been moved to a non-Covid ward yesterday as she was recovering well. But her health worsened and this morning, the family received a frightening call.
"They said they were running out of oxygen and they only had enough left till evening, so we had to shift my mother to any other hospital at the earliest," Ms Vyavahare told NDTV. Relatives of a few other patients faced the same situation.
But multiple hospitals refused to take in a new patient, telling the family that they wanted to preserve their oxygen supplies for those already admitted.
"We tried every hospital in Nashik but they have refused to take new admissions. If we don't get oxygen, then my mother won't survive," she said.
Used oxygen cylinders stacked up by the hospital wall reflected the growing crisis in the city.
"There are no cylinders because oxygen is not being supplied. So patients on ventilator are being shifted out. Oxygen is the main treatment for Covid patients. If we don't have that, it means 100 per cent death," said Shyam Patil, a doctor at Suvichar Hospital.
Dr Patil said every hospital in the city, private or government, was in the same state.
"I have six patients on ventilator. We were able to shift one. Now five patients are still left and our oxygen supply will be over by the evening," said the doctor.
He said he had tried to speak to district authorities but had no luck procuring more oxygen.
Nashik on Wednesday reported the highest number of 4,122 coronavirus cases in a day.
Maharashtra has been reporting the highest number of daily cases in the country over the past few weeks. On Wednesday, it recorded 59,907 new COVID-19 cases and 322 deaths in 24 hours.