Bengaluru: Hospitals worried as Ballari oxygen unit breaks down | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: A breakdown at a liquid oxygen manufacturing unit in Ballari on August 8 has set alarm bells ringing at some Bengaluru hospitals.
Air Water India, a leading player in this sector, has written to ESI Hospital, Rajajinagar and Jayanagar General Hospital about the disruption in the 1,800-tonne air separation unit and asked them to source medical oxygen from others. These hospitals have many Covid-19 patients.
10%-15% of active cases in state need oxygen support
Rajajinagar ESI Hospital and Jayanagar General Hospital have many Covid-19 patients who require oxygen support for survival. They are now looking at alternative suppliers.
At least 10%-15% of the 81,097 active cases in Karnataka and 33,280 in Bengaluru as on August 19 need high flow oxygen support. There are 704 patients in ICUs across the state, of which 329 are in Bengaluru.
Alarmed by the alert, ESI Hospital, Rajajinagar has tapped backup sources and plans to ask its 39 empanelled hospitals to take its patients during an emergency.
“In the worst-case scenario, we have to shift two patients each to our empanelled hospitals. I’ll write to all these hospitals to accommodate our patients if needed,” said Dr Imtihan Hussain, medical chief, ESI Hospital, Rajajinagar. The hospital has 120 Covid-19 beds and at least 60-70 patients need oxygen support.
At Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, which gets liquid oxygen from Air Water India, measures have been taken to ensure uninterrupted supply with oxygen cylinders. The hospital has 28 beds fitted with ventilators. “We have a backup of over 70 oxygen cylinders and 9 kilolitres of liquid oxygen. The company has assured us uninterrupted supply,” said Dr C Nagaraj, director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases.
Jayanagar General Hospital is preparing to build a 3KL tank on its premises in a tie-up with Air Water India. Dr Kiran Kumar, medical superintendent of the hospital, was unavailable for comment.
The company has been supplying to many private hospitals in the city. Joseph Pasangha, COO, Narayana Health, said there are no issues with supply but it increased prices which is being discussed.
Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road, said it has enough oxygen for at least10 days. “Our vendor is Air Water India Private Ltd. Manipal Hospitals is well prepared for exigency due to supply issues. If need be, we’ll go for alternatives,” Dr Manish Rai, hospital director, Manipal Hospitals, said.
Air Water India senior sales manager and spokesperson Harish Prabhu said the company informed clients, especially government hospitals, to make back-up arrangements only as a precautionary measure.
“We faced a pump failure at our Ballari unit. Our technical staff are working on it. It’s all set to restart, possibly before August 20. At Dobbspet, we have a storage vessel of 60 tonnes. Consumption of liquid medical oxygen has gone up in the Covid scenario and therefore we asked hospitals to keep back-up for a day or to engage with the other providers if there’s a shortage,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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