Toll Rises to 74 at Goa Hospital as 13 More Covid Patients Die Due to Lack of Oxygen

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Day after 15 Covid-patients died at Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), 13 more lost their lives on Friday due to lack of oxygen supply, the state advocate general informed the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court.

This comes after 20 patients died on Wednesday and 26 on Tuesday over oxygen crisis.

The Goa bench has been hearing a bunch of petitions on the recent death of Covid-19 patients at the GMCH allegedly due to lack of medical oxygen.

The HC on Thursday observed that despite its order on providing medical oxygen to Covid patients at the GMCH, there were 15 deaths during the dark hours of 2 am and 6 am in the government-run facility on Thursday.

The HC said the Centre should ensure that the allotted quota of medical oxygen is made available at the earliest to Goa, which is reporting a very high test positivity rate.

The bench, consisting of Justices Nitin W Sambre and M S Sonak, said despite their May 12 order, the court sadly recorded that even on Thursday, it is reported that there were almost 40 Covid-19-related casualties in the GMCH.

Out of these, around 15 took place between the dark hours of 2 am and 6 am, the court observed.

On Wednesday, the HC had said the availability of medical oxygen for patients at the GMCH was grim, and asked the state government to take corrective steps. From May 2, 2021 onwards, this is the position of casualties in the GMCH, the bench said referring to the deaths during the dark hours.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawan visited the hospital on Tuesday and said the gap between the “availability of medical oxygen and its supply might have caused some issues”, NDTV reported.

But he claimed there is no scarcity of oxygen supply in the state.

Goa has, however, urged the Centre to replenish its oxygen stocks. The BJP government has written to the Centre, saying that they should be given 22 MT of oxygen per day, in place of 11 MT, for at least a week to make up for the shortfall.

Over the past 10 days, the state has received 40 metric tonnes fewer than it should have from manufacturing facilities in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur.

The state received, between May 1-10, only 66.74 MT of the allocated 110 MT from Kolhapur. Supply from Kolhapur is about 40 per cent of Goa’s total allocation.

‘Waited eight hours just to get a wheelchair’

The GMCH, meanwhile, is brimming to capacity, with no place for new admissions. The last few patients who managed to secure admissions have to be content with a spot on the floor.

A family member of a patient told NDTV that they waited for eight hours just to get a wheelchair.

The next day the patient’s oxygen levels hovered between 50-60 and they needed a ventilator, which was not available.

“Forget that, they don’t even have beds. They put him on the floor,” the family member said.

Goa on Friday morning reported 2,491 new cases and 62 deaths in 24 hours. Its active caseload is around 33,000 and total death count around 2,000.

(With PTI inputs)

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