Oxygen plant at Trauma hospital Bijbehara incomplete despite being designated for COVID treatment

Suhail Bhat
SRINAGAR, May 4: The oxygen plant at 110-bed Trauma hospital in Bijbehara area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district is incomplete despite the facility being dedicated to COVID-19 care.
The work on the oxygen plant began six months back when the hospital was made functional after a gap of around 12-years. As of now, sources said, the number of patients undergoing treatment in the hospital is less, but the hospital will be under stress if the cases continue to surge.
The hospital was one of the 23 hospitals that were recently dedicated for the COVID treatment across Jammu and Kashmir. The authorities also dedicated New Type Primary Health Centre in the Mattan area for COVID care in Anantnag district.
Sources in the hospital said that the oxygen plant at the trauma hospital is nowhere near completion and the availability of oxygen cylinders is also below par. Last year the hospital was first used as a quarantine centre and then a facility for COVID-positive pregnant women. “The second wave is getting worse with each passing day, and cases are likely to increase. The district has to be prepared for the worst scenario and for that this facility needs to get completed as soon as possible,” a doctor said.
He said that it would be hard for the hospital to get refills on time. “It takes around 2-3 hours for an oxygen cylinder to get refilled and that means the hospital needs an ample bank of the bulk cylinder, but it has a small quantity of cylinders available with it,” he said.
The employees lamented the hospital was opened last year, but the oxygen plant remained incomplete despite passing of almost a year. “Majority of the beds have oxygen points but without oxygen plant, they are useless,” an employee said, adding that the administration is relying on the oxygen cylinders that are not available in good quantity.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Anantnag, Dr. Mukhtar Shah, told Excelsior that the oxygen plant would be functional within three days. “We have fixed May 6 as the deadline for the completion of the plant. We hope that the construction agency will meet the deadline,” he said.
However, sources said that it would at least take another month for the authorities to make the plant fully functional.
Asked about the availability of oxygen cylinders, he said they have enough supply of oxygen cylinders and concentrators available in the hospital.