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Mumbai: Family watches as man dies of lack of oxygen outside hospital | Mumbai News – Times of India

Mumbai: Family watches as man dies of lack of oxygen outside hospital | Mumbai News - Times of India

MUMBAI: On Sunday, Khar resident Shrikant Mhatre saw his 57-year-old father gasp for breath on a wheelchair while waiting for an oxygen bed that never became available till the very end. Shrikant told TOI he will never forget the six harrowing hours spent outside Bhabha Hospital in Bandra that couldn’t admit his father since they had run out of oxygen. His father passed away at 2.30pm, about four hours after they had set out in search of an oxygen bed.

Deepak Mhatre had tested positive for malaria last week and hence the family didn’t suspect Covid-19 when he developed fever and other symptoms. On Sunday morning, though, he became breathless. Shrikant said they contacted the ward war room around 8am but were told no oxygen beds were available. “They said they would check with a few hospitals and inform us. Since it didn’t happen till 10am, we headed to Bhabha,” said the son.
On reaching Bhabha, the family was told the hospital had run out of oxygen since Friday and hence were not admitting any patients who may need it. “My dad was wearing the pulse oximeter on his finger. His saturation had dropped to 55%. We felt helpless and started making calls everywhere,” Shrikant said.
All insisted on a Covid report, laments family
Shrikant added that they stayed put in the hospital thinking they would directly head to one that had a bed. An added impediment was not having a Covid-positive report, the son said.
Srikant’s cousin Santosh, who made calls to half a dozen private hospitals and ward war rooms, said there was no guidance on what they could do next. “Everyone kept on asking for a Covid report,” Santosh said. They even went to enquire at the BKC jumbo centre where staffers told them that beds are only allocated through the ward war rooms. They finally arranged an acquaintance to come and do an antigen test outside Bhabha Hospital, hoping that could aid in getting a bed.
In the meantime, as Deepak complained of his worsening breathlessness, they purchased a portable can that holds about 8 litre oxygen. “Soon as we gave that, his oxygen level showed some improvement, but the can lasted less than ten minutes,” Santosh said. They once again rushed him to Bhabha around 2.15pm, where he collapsed and passed away in the casualty. “Had we found an oxygen bed, we could have saved him,” the son said. Deepak is survived by his wife, two sons, daughtersin-law and grandchildren.
Dr P Jadhav, superintendent of Bandra Bhabha, said they have had to shift patients since Friday for want of oxygen. “We have completely stopped admitting patients who require oxygen. This family was told to contact the ward war room and they would help them find a bed.”
Mumbai’s daily oxygen need has hit 235 tonne. Not just smaller private nursing homes, even civic hospitals are grappling with supply issues. In some hospitals such as Shatabdi in Govandi, a liquid oxygen tank has been installed, but is yet to be commissioned. Active cases in the city have jumped from 20,000 a month ago to 86,000. Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said the crunch in civic peripheral hospital was caused by disruption in supply at the distributor’s end.


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