As patients gasping for air continue to flood tertiary care hospitals, the district hospitals in south Kashmir are yet to make the high flow oxygen plants functional.
In Kulgam district hospital, the patients are still managed with a low capacity 300 mpl oxygen plant. The plant installed five years back was lying defunct and was made functional only a few months ago after a series of stories carried by the Greater Kashmir.
The health department has now allotted a 1000 mpl (litres per minute) capacity oxygen generation plant to the hospital, but that is yet to be made functional and might take some time.
However, MS DH Kulgam, Dr Muzafar Zargar said the mechanical engineering department was working on a war footing and it would take only a few days for the plant to be commissioned.
Once functional, the plant would supply oxygen to the 30 beds of the IPD block.
In Pulwama district hospital, medics said the absence of high flow oxygen was the reason for unnecessary referrals at times.
The hospital presently has a 300 mpl low capacity oxygen plant.
However, the Deputy Medical Superintendent (MS) of the hospital and Nodal Officer for Covid, Dr. Mir Mushtaq said they are likely to make the 1000 mpl plant allotted to it functional today.
“The plant has now been commissioned,” MS informed, adding it would cater to around 70 beds of the hospital at a time.
He said earlier they were able to provide high flow oxygen to only 20 beds at one go.
In Emergency and Trauma hospital Bijbehara, the 1000 mpl plant allotted to it is also yet to be made functional.
A medic said the plant has not been installed yet.
However, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Anantnag informed that the plant would be functional in not more than two weeks.
“The mechanical engineering department had to get certain spare parts for the plant and they have got those now,” he said.
CMO said the hospital already has 150 bulk oxygen cylinders and 28 concentrators at its disposal.
Shopian district hospital was so far functioning without an oxygen plant and had to manage the patients suffering from respiratory ailments on cylinders and concentrators.
“The patients who couldn’t be managed on cylinders were referred in the absence of high flow and even normal flow oxygen in the hospital,” a medic said.
The health department has now allotted a 1000 mpl capacity oxygen generation plant to the hospital, and that has been made functional today.
Medical Superintendent (MS) of the hospital, Dr Muhammad Ismail hoped the new plant would help in dealing with the oxygen crisis in this pandemic.
As of now, we are relying on 50 bulk oxygen cylinders, 10 concentrators and some 70 medium size cylinders,” he said.
Medics believe that making high flow oxygen plants functional would help in preventing unnecessary referrals to Srinagar hospitals. “The need is to install more oxygen supplying points in the hospitals so that every bed gets the facility,” a medic said.
He said this will reduce the burden on tertiary care hospitals which already are finding it difficult to arrange beds for patients in this pandemic. “We, however, would need trained staff to run these plants,” the medic added.