CM washes his hands of oxygen crisis at GMC

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Passes the buck to Vishwajit and GMC dean

Dangerously low levels of oxygen in GMC’s COVID ward

Panaji: Washing his hands of the oxygen crisis at the Goa Medical College and Hospital, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said that he had not been informed about the insufficient supply of oxygen in COVID wards of the hospital.

Sawant pointed fingers at GMC dean Dr S M Bandekar for not coordinating with doctors and concerned officials. He also passed the buck to Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, claiming that Rane did not inform him about the oxygen crisis at the hospital.

Sawant claimed that the concerned individuals also failed to inform the government-appointed team, which looks after the overall distribution of oxygen supply in state-run COVID facilities.

Interacting with media persons at the GMC in the presence of the Health Minister, Sawant said, “We have appointed a special secretary to monitor these things (overall supply of medical oxygen). The issue is between the doctors and the dean. The dean should have coordinated… it was his duty to sit with them and discuss. No one approached me and I was not aware.”

“I came to know about this issue only after reading their (Goa Association of Resident Doctors) statement in newspapers. Yesterday, I personally enquired about oxygen supply with the Health Minister and I was told by him that there are adequate cylinders. Today I read about it in the newspaper, and I came to know and enquired about it. Had it been brought to our notice then we would have outsourced and arranged the cylinders,” he maintained.

It is pertinent to note that the GARD had not only made the sensational revelation about the insufficient supply of oxygen in COVID wards and casualty but had also alleged that COVID patients have died due to shortage of oxygen supply.

“In the middle of the night when oxygen gets over, and patients worsens and sometimes die (sic),” this is exactly what the GARD had stated in the letter to the GMC dean.

Sawant said that he has instructed the dean to coordinate with the government-appointed team every four hours, adding that government will ensure that the pressure for the flow of oxygen at the GMC doesn’t reach the danger mark.

He further said that henceforth oxygen will be supplied to the COVID wards of the GMC through four trolleys instead of three.

The Chief Minister rubbished the claim of the Health Minister in his presence that in the last seven days Sawant had taken over the responsibility of overseeing the oxygen supply to all the state-run COVID facilities.

“One person cannot take such a control. It is teamwork, and we have an entire disaster management committee working towards it,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening at around 7 pm GMC’s ward number 142, where COVID patients are being treated, reportedly had dangerously low levels of oxygen.

A highly-placed source said that till 11 pm the supply was not restored even with minimum required pressure despite having centralised pipeline for the oxygen supply in the particular ward. 

“The doctors on duty immediately brought it to the notice of the nodal officer of the hospital. The flow of oxygen is extremely low.  We fear that it may lead to untoward incident,” the source told ‘The Navhind Times’ on Tuesday night.