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ISLAMABAD: With the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has requested the Ministry of National Health Services And Regulations to shift the burden of growing Covid-19 cases to other hospitals of the federal capital as PIMS was unable to help provide oxygen to “all the patients”. Joint Executive Director PIMS Dr Minhaj-us-Siraj in a letter to the Ministry has said that the drop in oxygen pressure was mainly attributable to the sharp increase in the number of coronavirus patients at the hospital and the need to continuously supply oxygen to them.

He said “any unnecessary oxygen supply in the hospital was immediately halted as part of efforts to restore oxygen pressure in order that the required oxygen flow be maintained for Covid-19 patients.

“Otherwise, the patients would have been at grave risk.” He said that Covid-19 patients’ burden must also be distributed to other hospitals otherwise it will create a serious scenario.

The situation in Islamabad seems to be particularly precarious as the largest medical facility here, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), is struggling with low oxygen pressure amidst a “tidal wave of Covid-19 patients in critical situation was reported at PIMS on April 18, when ventilators reserved for coronavirus patients started sounding alarms.”

The ventilator alarms are triggered when the pressure of oxygen being supplied to a patient drops below the required level. On that day, it dropped from 100% to 70%.

The incident sparked panic at the facility as there were five patients on ventilators at the time in the coronavirus intensive care ward. At the time, there were 147 patients occupying the 183 beds allocated for Covid-19 patients at the hospital. A separate 30 patients were in the hospital's emergency ward. The situation was serious as most of the patients affected were dependent on 'high flow oxygen' for survival -- a medical condition where they need more oxygen in comparison to ordinary patients as they suffer from acute breathing difficulties.

The hospital administration disclosed that the health facility's storage tank is in fact full of oxygen: it stores 10,000 cubic meters of the vital gas and is refilled every 15 hours. The real issue, the administration explained, is to maintain oxygen pressure as the oxygen supply lines running through the hospital are in excessive use owing to an unprecedented number of patients needing oxygen for life support.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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