What Happens When Hospitals Have No Oxygen

In India, the COVID-19 virus is killing thousands of people every single day. On May 19 alone, the Ministry of Health and Welfare reported 3,874 deaths. Experts worldwide fear the real number of fatalities may be much higher.

Many of these daily fatalities have been linked to a shortage of oxygen. For patients in critical condition, steady supplies of oxygen are often the only way to survive the virus.

Because of the overwhelmed supply chain, the immensity of the COVID-19 caseload, and the number of hospitals facing a severe shortage of oxygen and other basic medical supplies, people continue to perish.

METAS Adventist Hospital—the largest Adventist hospital in the nation—is one of the many healthcare facilities in India fighting to overcome the logistical and medical barriers of the pandemic. The 300-bed facility in the hard-hit state of Gujarat in western India has converted its facilities entirely to the treatment of COVID-19 cases and has struggled to keep up with the demand for oxygen.

Dr. Eliah Srikakolli, the CEO of METAS, has seen firsthand the devastation of the pandemic.

“We are totally relying on an external supply of oxygen,” he said. “The oxygen supply on a few occasions completely ran empty but, by God’s grace, we received the tankers on time to sustain the patients before they became critical.”

Ruth Mohan is a nurse at METAS and knows well the fear of the dwindling supply of oxygen, and the relief when another shipment arrives. “We have seen miracles at our hospital,” she said.

One such miracle is the Oxygen Generation Plant (OGP) that ADRA has procured in Milan, Italy and is currently shipping to METAS Adventist Hospital. This generator provides hospitals with a reliable, continuous, and self-sustaining supply of medical grade oxygen. Instead of relying on countless small capacity cylinders that provide less than 30 minutes of oxygen for patients in critical condition, an OGP can generate 600 liters of oxygen per minute—enough to serve the entire 300-bed capacity.

“The anxiety of waiting long hours for oxygen to arrive will be done away,” said Dr. Srikakolli. “The acute need for medical oxygen will be met. We can also maintain a healthy inventory of filled cylinders. No more will there be a need to be helplessly dependent on suppliers.”

With an OGP, METAS Adventist Hospital will be in a better position to battle any future waves of COVID-19 and to help other hospitals in the region that have less access to oxygen.

“The hospital can also be a source of help in case of an SOS call within the city for hospitals running low on oxygen supply,” Dr. Srikakolli added.

Ravi Ghandi knows the limitations of those surrounding hospitals. He was admitted to one with a severe case of COVID-19.

“I was hospitalized in one of the private hospitals, and I was not getting proper oxygen level treatment there,” he said. “I was hospitalized for almost twenty days there.”

He was eventually transferred to METAS Adventist Hospital, where his oxygen treatment plan was more aggressive. “Within five to six days I immediately recovered, and now I can breathe without oxygen,” he said. “The timely support given by this hospital is very good. They provided me all the support systems.”

That support will only improve with the installation of the Oxygen Generation Plant, a facility that will not only save the lives of those suffering from COVID-19 at METAS, but all those battling the virus at surrounding hospitals, too.

And that support is now being extended to the city of Pune in the state of Maharashtra, where ADRA is working to deliver a second OGP to the Adventist hospital. The hard-hit city just south of Mumbai continues to face overwhelming infections, and the presence of an OGP to provide pure, self-sustaining medical grade oxygen will save countless lives.

To continue to support the efforts of ADRA to provide more Oxygen Generation Plants to other hospitals in need in India, please donate today.