SKIMS facing frequent snags in oxygen supply

Irfan Tramboo
The oxygen supply at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura is facing frequent snags which is affecting the COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care at the facility.
While the SKIMS administration keeps denying it, Excelsior has learnt that the supply has been facing issues since last week and the latest snag has occurred this week for the third 3rd consecutive time.
A doctor on the condition of anonymity told this reporter that on Saturday the oxygen supply all over again failed and that it was for the third time that such a thing happened.
“A COVID-19 suspect was on a ventilator and that’s when the oxygen supply failed, with the result his oxygen saturation fell to 8. In an emergency, he had to be put on Ambu bag till the oxygen supply was restored,” he said.
He said that the problem takes a toll everywhere, be it COVID-19 Intensive Care Units or the main Operation Theatres of the hospital.
Sources told Excelsior that earlier on July 20, the oxygen supply failed and the doctors had to call the attendants as well as the security men to hold the Ambu bags so that the patients get the required oxygen until the main oxygen supply was restored.
The snag was later identified and the supply was restored as was informed by the Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr Farooq Jan the same day.
“…Today the oxygen plant of our supplier for cylinders had developed a fault. We identified the second source and has started supplying oxygen,” he told Excelsior.
After that, it has been learned that the hospital faced multiple interruptions in the oxygen supply due to which the patients suffered and several schedule surgeries were postponed.
The doctors said that there is a load on the oxygen plant which is catering to COVID-19 patients-who need constant supply and the operation theatres in the hospital where several surgeries are being carried out.
There have been several documented instances, the doctors said, where the scheduled surgeries were postponed due to oxygen failure.
It is pertinent to mention here that the hospital continues to carry out elective surgeries as of now which is again putting more load on the system.
Excelsior learnt that the number of surgeries carried out post-COVID-19 at SKIMS is equal to the number of surgeries being carried out now, furthering load on the already strained system.
“There is no issue at all; we have got another oxygen concentrator, and we already have two oxygen concentrators of capacity 1250 litres per minute each and one concentrator of capacity 750 litres per minute. We have 450 bulk oxygen cylinders,” the Medical Superintendent said.
About the elective surgeries, he said that even in these surgeries that are carried out at the hospital, only those that cannot be deferred are taken up.
Pertinently, the hospital administration has preferred to take the route of denial saying that there “is no breakdown or shortage of oxygen supply to COVID wards or Intensive Care Units.”


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