Relatives of COVID-19 patients wait to fill cylinders at an oxygen filling center, as demand for the gas rises due to spike in COVID-19 cases, at IMT Manesar, May 5, 2021. Photo: PTI
New Delhi: For several weeks now, as a severe second wave of COVID-19 infections wreaks havoc in the country, one of the most pressing concerns has been a shortage of medical oxygen to treat patients. Not just individual patients but even hospitals have been using social media to issue SOS calls; several hospitals have even moved high courts asking for their oxygen supply to be replenished on an emergency basis. State governments, too, have pointed fingers both at each other and at the Centre, blaming other governments for blocking supplies.
In the midst of all this, it is, of course, the patients who suffer. Numerous reports have been coming in of COVID-19 patients dying not of the disease itself, but because they were unable to get the oxygen support needed even while in hospital.
The Wire is putting together a list of the deaths that have officially been attributed to an oxygen shortage. We have culled these from media reports and from a Twitter thread created by Aditi Priya, a research associate at LEAD at Krea University.
So far, we have collated the details of 178 deaths in which the hospital authorities or local administrations have confirmed oxygen shortage as the proximate cause, and another 70 deaths in which the patients’ families have alleged that the lack of oxygen was to blame but the authorities have not confirmed the allegation.
We will continue to update this list while this crisis continues. If you see any instances we may have missed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.