In rural Rajasthan, amid shortage of oxygen, ventilators kept idle

Supported by a pillow and slouched over his hospital mattress, Jagdish Prasad Mittal, 79, watches his son Manoj frantically dialling individuals, enquiring if an ICU mattress is obtainable in any hospital alongside the 120-km stretch from their hometown Nim Ka Thana in Rajasthan’s Sikar district to Jaipur, the state capital.

Opposite him on the Covid ward of the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Nim Ka Thana, one other septuagenarian Mariam Bano gasps for breath, her physique abruptly convulsing. Bano’s grandson Syed Yunus cries for the obligation physician who rushes together with nursing employees to test on her. But just a few moments later, a curtain is drawn round Bano’s mattress. She is asserted useless.

On May 14, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot took to Twitter to say that with 2.11 lakh energetic instances, Rajasthan is fourth within the nation by way of energetic instances. A day after, he mentioned given the fast unfold of instances in rural areas, there’s a must strengthen healthcare providers proper as much as the bottom tier.

Travelling throughout villages, and stopping over at authorities hospitals in rural Jaipur and adjoining Sikar district, The Indian Express finds the healthcare system struggling to work regardless of a number of issues — oxygen scarcity, idling ventilators, decreased employees energy with frontline employees turning Covid constructive, and a circulate of rural individuals complaining of fever and breathlessness.

On Saturday, Sikar registered 485 Covid instances, and the day earlier than it had reported 674 new instances.

The Kapildev Government General Hospital, the place each Bano and Mittal have been admitted, additionally designated as a Sub-Divisional Hospital, serves because the CHC of Nim Ka Thana, and caters to round 180 income villages and 59 gram panchayats. Just over every week again on May 8, it had began a 30-oxygen-bed Covid care facility. All have been occupied inside just a few days, says Dr GS Tanwar, Principal Medical Officer (PMO).

“We had to increase the capacity to 40 oxygen beds to accommodate more patients. We have a plant which provides oxygen to 16 points. We also use 30 oxygen concentrators and cylinders to meet any shortage. Private entities have donated 20 concentrators, and the district administration provided 10,” he mentioned.

Manoj Mittal, a businessman, mentioned it was the primary time ever that he introduced his father to a government-run facility as a result of oxygen scarcity at personal hospitals was even worse. “My father needs an ICU bed. I have been trying since morning, but beds everywhere are full. Yesterday, my father’s oxygen saturation dropped to 80,” he says. He managed to get the mattress within the CHC with a reference from a neighborhood MLA.

Clutching to her salwar kameez, Bano’s grandson Syed Yunus tries laborious to carry again his tears. “We came here around 20 days ago. The Covid test of my grandmother was negative but she continued to feel breathless. Her saturation was around 69, but was not put on ventilator… She would have lived had she received continuous high-flow oxygen and had she been put on a ventilator,” he says.

Just beside the ward is the CHC’s Intensive Care Unit with eight ventilators stored beside beds. But the room has no sufferers, not one of the machines have been put to work on Saturday.

When requested why ventilators have been stored idle, Brijesh Kumar, Sub-Divisional Officer, Nim Ka Thana, mentioned, “Our oxygen plant has a capacity of 150 litres per minute. Each patient on the ventilator will consume around 50 litres per minute — equal to the requirement of eight patients who get oxygen generated from the plant and supplied through a line. We have 16 such beds being supplied oxygen through this line. We will have to either remove these patients or arrange oxygen cylinders for them.”

Officials from the well being division admitted that with regular rise in instances, oxygen is in brief provide. “The overall requirement for oxygen cylinders in our district is around 1,500 cylinders a day. At present, we receive only 750-800 cylinders. The hospitals are full of Covid patients. The doctors have to adjust the flow of oxygen consumption per patient to accommodate everyone. This has brought down per patient consumption to around 1.7 cylinders everyday,” says Dr. Ajay Choudhary, Chief Medical and Health Officer, Sikar.

Healthcare employees testing constructive can be a significant problem.

“They may be vaccinated, but if they have mild Covid, their family members are often ending up in serious condition contracting the infection from them. The government should immediately prioritise family members of healthcare workers for vaccination,” says Dr. Choudhary, who can be the President of the All Rajasthan In-Service Doctors’ Association (ARISDA), a physique elevating points impacting authorities docs within the state.

Around 50 km from Nim Ka Thana, on the BDM district hospital in Kotputli in Jaipur rural, the emergency ward is full, with sufferers on stretchers being wheeled in each few hours, most of them gasping for breath. Here too, ventilators will not be functioning.

“We have 15 ventilators but we are unable to use them because three doctors who are needed to operate them have tested positive for Covid-19. Moreover, the oxygen from the one plant in our hospital can cater to 30 beds and we supplement it with oxygen cylinders and concentrators. But there are 68 patients on oxygen currently. Our oxygen supply is not adequate to run ventilators,” mentioned Dr. Ashwani Goyal, Principal Medical Officer, BDM district hospital, Kotputli.

Patients in want of ventilators have been being referred to Jaipur, however most choose to remain right here, fearing they might lose the oxygen mattress within the hospital if they’re unable to rearrange a mattress within the state capital.

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