Pune: Rampant misuse of oxygen in Covid hospitals, find govt audit teams

Officials said some degree of shortage was a result of hospitals failing to use the gas judiciously and minimise wastage.

The Pune district administration, which has appointed as many as 111 two-member squads to conduct oxygen audits in hospitals across the district, has found rampant misuse of the life saving gas. District officials claim they have succeeded to an extent in rationalising the use of oxygen which has helped in keeping the demand on an even keel with supply.

“The demand and supply position of oxygen in Pune district is stable now. Hospitals in Pune district are not experiencing the shortage of the life saving gas,” Additional Collector Vijaysinh Deshmukh told The Indian Express on Tuesday.

District officials said they have been able to stabilise the situation after a sudden bout of panic among citizens due to the oxygen audits being regularly conducted at hospitals. Officials said some degree of shortage was a result of hospitals failing to use the gas judiciously and minimise wastage.

Deshmukh said they found rampant misuse of oxygen during the initial audits, which was the main reason behind the shortage at hospitals. This has now lead to the formation of 111 squads, each comprising two members. Each squad has engineering college teachers and professors who have been trained regarding optimum use of oxygen in hospitals.

– Stay updated with the latest Pune news. Follow Express Pune on Twitter here and on Facebook here. You can also join our Express Pune Telegram channel here.

District officials said they were taken aback by the way the medical oxygen is utilised by the hospitals for Covid-19 patients. “When a Covid-19 patient is on oxygen support, his oxygen saturation should be maintained at 92 to 94 per cent. However, we found that hospitals were maintaining oxygen saturation level at 98 per cent. This is dangerous… it is could cause lung fibriosis or mucormycosis,” Deshmukh said, adding that hospitals have been warned about serious consequences of more than required use of oxygen. “In some hospitals, it was seen that instead of two litre per minute oxygen use, over 8 litre per minute oxygen was being used,” he added.

In some hospitals, Deshmukh said, leakages were noticed in pipelines. “The leakages were either in pipelines or valves or at other spots. The leakages were noticed right from oxygen tank to the ward or ICUs. Oxygen wastage through these leakages was common. Hospitals have been told to plug them and carry out regular maintenance,” he said.

Deshmukh said it was also noticed that in hospital wards, patients were themselves lowering or increasing the oxygen levels. “Instead of an oxygen nurse, the patients themselves were deciding the use of oxygen which was against a risky proposition,” he said.

Deshmukh said some patients were on oxygen though they did not require it. “Instead of verifying whether the patient was stable and does not require oxygen, the patient continues to use oxygen though he did not require it. This is a common practice in most hospitals leading to wastage,” he said.

Pune district is currently consuming 300 to 325 tonnes of medical oxygen per day. “Pune district gets oxygen from four plants in Chakan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Odisha. We have to provide oxygen to neighbouring districts as well. From Karnataka, the oxygen supply has come down drastically due to the state government’s decision. Two plants in Chakan were not working, but have started again yesterday,” he said.

The 111 squads which have been formed to conduct audits at 639 Covid hospitals in the district includes 225 engineering college professors. “The professors have been given training on effective use of oxygen,” officials said.

Deshmukh said the professors who visit hospitals have to carefully fill up the Oxgen Audit Inspection and Oxygen Weaning Protocol Form after examining the system in place. “The professors will have to train the hospital staff, doctors, nurses or paramedical staff regarding the Oxygen Weaning Protocol Form,” he said. “On the other hand, the hospitals will have to fill up and submit self-certification form to the squads. This should be filled up by technically qualified persons,” he said.

Deshmukh said the hospitals are being told to plug the loopholes within a stipulated time-frame.

Source: Read Full Article