Battling an acute shortage of oxygen, some hospitals in Delhi on Sunday sent out desperate SOS calls to authorities to replenish their dwindling stocks, with one healthcare facility even “crying out” to the government to shift out its patients.

Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital in Malviya Nagar on Sunday sounded an alarm about their depleting stocks around noon, saying 50 people, including four newborns, were “at-risk”.

An official of the hospital said in the afternoon there are around 80 patients, including those suffering from COVID-19, at the hospital. It also has 15 newborns, he said.

“There are 50 people, including four newborns, on oxygen support. They are at risk,” the official said.

The hospital does not have a liquid oxygen storage tank and depends on oxygen cylinders from a private vendor.

“It has become a daily fire-fight in the absence of a continuous supply. We require around 125 oxygen cylinders a day,” the official said.

The hospital said it received 20 oxygen cylinders around 1:30 pm with the help of government authorities.

Aakash Healthcare in Dwarka appealed to government authorities to shift patients to other facilities so that they can be saved.

“CRY FOR HELP: Received only 5 #oxygen cylinders after running around the entire day, not more than 60 mins left to save lives of more than 250 patients,” a tweet posted from the hospital’s handle read.

Dr Deepali Gupta from Triton Hospital in Kalkaji said they have been struggling to arrange oxygen for their neonatal intensive care unit.

“We have been scrambling for oxygen for over a week. A major tragedy may occur if a continuous supply is not ensured soon,” she said.

AAP leader Raghav Chadha said the government has issued 5 D-type cylinders to the hospital from the Rajghat Response Point.

“Hospital officials are on their way to collect it. Sincerely hope that oxygen supply chains of hospitals get restored quickly for this fire-fighting is unsustainable,” he tweeted.

Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research also took to social media seeking help from authorities.

“Forty-five COVID patients admitted. Need liquid oxygen supply by 5 PM. Help!! it tweeted.

It could not be ascertained if the facility received a refill.

The Hakim Abdul Hamid Centenary Hospital, where 110 patients are admitted, sounded an alarm about their depleting oxygen stock around 2 pm.

“The city government is responsible for this situation. The supplies have become erratic ever since the government has taken over,” Dr Sunil Kohli, the head of the department of medicine, said.

A tanker carrying oxygen reached the facility around 6 pm.

Meanwhile, the BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital announced the installation of an “oxygen generator and a high-pressure cylinder filling system which will provide around 15 per cent additional back-up to the existing medical oxygen demand at the hospital in the form of a continuous feed”.

On Saturday, 12 COVID-19 patients, including a senior doctor, had died at south Delhi’s Batra Hospital after the facility ran out of medical oxygen for around 80 minutes in the afternoon.

The tragic incident occurred in less than two weeks of 20 coronavirus patients dying at Jaipur Golden Hospital and 25 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital amid the oxygen crisis in the national capital.

Several hospitals in Delhi continue to grapple with a shortage of oxygen, as coronavirus cases continue to spike every passing day.

The Delhi government has been demanding 976 metric tonnes of oxygen from the Centre against the existing allotted 490 MT quota.

On Friday, the city administration received just 312 MT, an official said.

According to official data, Delhi had got 305 MT of oxygen on April 25, followed by 408 MT on April 26, 398 MT on April 27, 431 MT on April 28 and 409 MT on April 29.

The national capital recorded its highest 412 COVID-19 fatalities in a day and 25,219 new instances of the infection with a case positivity rate of 31.61 per cent on Saturday, according to a bulletin issued by the Delhi health department. 

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