The Indian city of Surat in the western state of Gujarat is rapidly running out of oxygen, Hiral Shah, a senior doctor in the city, told CNN on Tuesday.
“There are around 4,000 patients in the city who need oxygen,” said Shah, president of the Indian Medical Association in Surat.
“If the supply is not increased, we fear it could lead to deaths,” he said.
Surat’s Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday appealed to Gujarat’s chief minister, asking that the city’s oxygen supply be increased. On Tuesday, they held a meeting with city administrative officials to try to resolve the crisis, Shah said.
“If the oxygen supply is not restored regularly over the next 12 hours, private Covid hospitals will be forced to stop treating patients,” the IMA said in its letter on Monday.
Since then, around 30% of the city’s total oxygen supply has been restored, according to Shah.
Surat needs 230 metric tons of oxygen, Shah said, adding that the majority of his supply comes from Jamanagar district in Gujarat, more than 330 miles from Surat.
“The problem is transportation – it doesn’t reach the city on time,” said Shah, adding that if the situation persists, hospitals will have to stop taking in patients.
In Ahmedabad, another city in Gujarat, small hospitals are struggling to provide enough oxygen to their rapidly becoming critical patients, while large corporate hospitals still have enough oxygen for their patients.
Mona Desai, President of the Ahmedabad Medical Association, said:
“Patients lose their lives because … they are not admitted to intensive care, they wait in ambulances, wait to be admitted, there are no ICUs admitted in private hospitals … things are bad, really bad. ..we doctors, we feel helpless and frustrated, we want to help but we are helpless. “
The state of Gujarat recorded 510,373 coronavirus cases and 6,486 deaths on Tuesday, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.
According to Desai, however, the death toll in the state is “much higher” than what is officially reported.
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