Demand for oxygen comes down in Tiruchi

Pressure eases on hospitals, doctors

Hospitals in Tiruchi have begun to heave a sigh of relief as the demand for oxygen has come down due to decrease in the number of COVID-19 admissions.

There were days when ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients waited at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH) for oxygen-supported beds. Hospital authorities had to exercise maximum restraint to allot beds as oxygen-supported beds were running to capacity.

Until April, MGMCH had about 420 oxygen beds. But due to unprecedented increase in COVID-19 patients, the number of oxygen-supported beds were increased to 643 by augmenting additional resources.

Since the third week of May, most of the private hospitals in the city preferred to admit patients mainly with mild or asymptomatic patients due to severe shortage of oxygen and uncertainty over the supply of oxygen. Several patients, who were badly in need of oxygen support, were denied admission, forcing them to visit MGMCH.

However, the decreasing trend in fresh cases of COVID-19 has begun to release the pressure on doctors, nurses and other hospital infrastructure. The demand of oxygen has also come down by 25% to 30%.

Until a week ago, MGMGH required about 7,000 litres of oxygen a day as against 2,500 litres of oxygen a day in normal circumstances. It reached a peak in the last week of May with usage of 7,400 litres. However, it has come down to 5,800 litres.

As on Wednesday, out of 643 oxygen beds, 562 were occupied. Out of 1,099 total beds, 760 were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

‘Crucial week’

“Situation is marginally better. We feel the pressure is getting released slowly as fresh cases have been decreasing slowly. But, the next one week is crucial. We hope for the best,” says K. Vanitha, Dean, MGMGH.

Though COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms and those requiring oxygen support have come down a bit, patients with serious complications continued to remain high. The demand of patients needing ventilator and ICU support has not come down yet, she added.

The pressure on private hospitals too seems to be declining slowly.

“There has been a noticeable improvement in oxygen supply. The number of COVID-19 patients seeking admission has also gone down a bit. It has released the pressure to an extent,” says D. Senguttuvan, Executive Director, Kauvery Hospital, Tiruchi.

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