Rs 35 crore spent in 4 months for medical oxygen

Earlier, as per the Medical Council of India norm, every medical college hospital used to have at least 30 beds with oxygen support per unit

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Oxygen
Picture: Pixabay

CHENNAI: The State Health Department spent Rs 35 crore in the past four months (from April to July) to purchase medical oxygen for 25 medical college hospitals and peripheral hospitals tending to Covid patients requiring oxygen support. “For the entire last year, only Rs 18 crore was spent on purchase of oxygen,” said Dr R Narayana Babu, director of Medical Education.

Earlier, as per the Medical Council of India norm, every medical college hospital used to have at least 30 beds with oxygen support per unit. But now, the government has increased the beds with oxygen supply to 13,226 in these hospitals.

There are also another 17,549 regular beds that can be converted into oxygen-supply beds. These are dynamic figures and they keep changing as the need arises. Chennai alone has 3,700 beds with oxygen supply, added Narayana Babu. “Before Covid, we used to fill 13 kilolitre (KL) in one tank every 11 days or so. The per day usage would range between 0.8 to 1 KL, which has now increased to 2.5 KL-3 KL.

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The suppliers are filling it every alternate day as a precautionary measure,” said Dr P Vasanthamani, dean, Kilpauk Medical College Hospital. A government doctor said, “In the beginning of the pandemic, we mostly had only asymptomatic patients. Now, a majority of patients come with lung infections and sickness.

Some require high flow of oxygen. Oxygen is the only support for people with breathing difficulties.” “In total, we have 382 KL-capacity liquid oxygen tanks. One litre of liquid oxygen can be converted into 840 L of gaseous oxygen,” added Narayana Babu.

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