Bihar: Hospital Superintendent asks to be relieved from duty citing Oxygen Shortage for COVID patients
Patna: A recent letter by the Superintendent of Nalanda Medical College and Hospital(NMCH) seeking to relieve him from the post has created quite a stir as the picture portrayed in the letter has depicted the severe condition of the healthcare system in Bihar.
Medical superintendent of NMCH, Dr Vinod Kumar Singh in the letter dated 17.04.2021 sought to relieve him from his post claiming the acute shortage of oxygen cylinders in the hospital.
The letter addressed to Principal Health Secretary of the State, Pratyaya Amrit, Dr Singh mentioned, "From the last few days the administration's decision to send the required oxygen cylinders to other hospitals instead of Nalanda Medical College and Hospital has caused the hospital is facing severe shortage of Oxygen. This could be the possible reason for the death of dozens of patients admitted at the hospital."
Expressing his concern that being the medical superintendent of the hospital, he would be answerable for the death of the patients due to lack of oxygen, Dr Singh sought to relieve him from the post.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that reports of hospitals helplessly turning away critically ill patients owing to a shortage of oxygen, ICU beds, and drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, are pouring in from all corners of the country. More and more state governments were rushing in to impose restrictions to provide respite to the healthcare infrastructure which is crumbling under the monstrous resurgence of the pandemic in India.
As the virus sweeps the country, many states had red-flagged the acute shortage in supplies of life-saving medical oxygen and ventilators leading to panic amongst patients, families, and the hospitals. The grim visuals of critical patients waiting outside hospitals in need of ICU beds were becoming more common with ICU beds count remaining unsatisfactory in many cities.
As the letter of the Medical Superintendent of NMCH started circulating on social media, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Tejashwi Yadav took a dig at the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the issue.
Sharing the letter, he wrote on his Twitter handle, "This is the pseudo development of Nitish Kumar. The Superintendent of NMCH Hospital, Patna has requested to be relieved of his work charge due to lack of oxygen. Just imagine the situation. Questioning the Chief Minister of 16 years is not allowed. What is that 16? CM will not accept his mistake even if he remains for 1600 years!"
Commenting on the situation a senior doctor of a government hospital told The Hindu, "If the situation is so grim in the State capital, Patna, one can imagine the State in remote districts where medical infrastructure is poor. The sooner the government provides proper medical infrastructure, the better it will be."
Meanwhile, the Hindustan Times reports that the number of fresh active cases has crossed 50,000 in Bihar. The situation, particularly in Patna, has turned alarming with none of the hospitals, including private ones, are ready to take fresh cases, citing the non-availability of beds.
The daily has further reported that in the last 24 hours, eight covid patients have died at NMCH. Taking note of the seriousness of the situation, the Patna High Court has recently scrutinized the steps being taken by the health department to combat the pandemic and asked it to file fresh and incisive report about the preparations by the next date of hearing of the Public Interest Litigation.