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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > State wide audit finds most hospitals across Maharashtra lack oxygen safety

State-wide audit finds most hospitals across Maharashtra lack oxygen safety

Updated on: 14 May,2021 06:46 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore | dharmendra.jore@mid-day.com

Experts find glaring lapses in medical oxygen supply system in 1,814 hospitals in Maharashtra, including leakages, lack of fire safety, and no maintenance systems or back-ups

State-wide audit finds most hospitals across Maharashtra lack oxygen safety

Representation pic

In worrisome findings, state-appointed technical experts have discovered glaring lapses in the maintenance of the medical oxygen supply system in 1,814 government and private hospitals across Maharashtra. These include leaking oxygen cylinders, no basic tools to repair them, and more importantly, no back-up in case of emergency.


The audit was ordered a day after 22 people died in a Nashik hospital because of oxygen leakage last month, and in view of the panic due to the shortage of oxygen supply in the pandemic
The audit was ordered a day after 22 people died in a Nashik hospital because of oxygen leakage last month, and in view of the panic due to the shortage of oxygen supply in the pandemic


The experts found that in most hospitals oxygen cylinder valves and pipes leaked; fire safety audits weren’t conducted; storage was unsafe and lacked fire safety. In some hospitals oxygen storage was very close to electricity transformers; the cylinders were placed in technically wrong positions; no basic tools were available to repair them, and there was no skilled staff appointed to maintain the system.


There was also no back-up in case the system stopped working.    

Also read: Maharashtra extends Covid-19 restrictions till June 1

One of the most shocking findings was that hospitals in the hilly areas of the tribal-dominated Nandurbar district didn’t have an oxygen supply system. The audit was ordered a day after 22 people died in a Nashik hospital because of oxygen leakage last month, and in view of the panic due to the shortage of oxygen supply in the pandemic.

It was decided to safeguard the life-saving gas by using it properly through meticulously maintained storage and supply equipment. 

The experts from engineering colleges, polytechnic and technical institutes were roped in by the Director of Technical Education, Dr Abhay Wagh, who was appointed a nodal officer. Wagh submitted his report to the government early this week. The report includes findings that were reported till May 9.

The life-saving gas can be shielded by using it properly through meticulously maintained storage and supply equipment. Representation pic/Satej Shinde
The life-saving gas can be shielded by using it properly through meticulously maintained storage and supply equipment. Representation pic/Satej Shinde

The checklist for experts, mostly senior faculty members of engineering/technical institutes included inspection of storage, safety, piped distribution system, other equipment and emergency planning like back-up supply. They were asked to recommend changes and repairs to the District Collectors. In all, 335 government (56 in Mumbai) and 1,479 (215 in Mumbai) private hospitals were audited. The audit reports of 254 government and 1,465 private hospitals have been submitted.

Dr Wagh has noted in the reports, that the recommended repairs for plugging leakages could make more oxygen available at local level, if the state faced acute shortage. 

“The hospital wise audit reports will certainly help prepare a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Mission Oxygen, which focuses on making the state oxygen sufficient,” Wagh said.

Audit findings
>> Cylinder valves and pipes leaked in most hospitals
>> A fire safety audit wasn’t conducted in most hospitals
>> The storage was unsafe, full of scrap and lacked fire safety measures
>> There was also no back-up in case of emergency    
>> Hospitals in the hilly areas of Nandurbar district didn’t have an oxygen supply system

56
Government hospitals were audited in Mumbai

251
Pvt hospitals audited in city

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