As many as sixteen coronavirus patients lost their lives in Rupandehi, after the hospitals they were being treated at ran out of oxygen on Wednesday.

Seven patients died at Bhim Hospital of Bhairahawa, five at Butwal’s COVID Special Hospital, and four at Universal Teaching Hospital of Bhairahawa.

According to a health worker at Bhim Hospital, the deceased – four men and three women – were undergoing treatment at the hospital for COVID-19 related complications and were with oxygen support, but they died about 15 minutes after their oxygen ran out.

The hospital, on Tuesday, had informed the police administration, local and provincial governments, and the federal government about the oxygen shortage it was facing.

“As we didn’t get any response in time, patients died one after another due to lack of oxygen,” said the hospital’s medical superintendent Shakuntala Gupta.

“Before beds and medicines, it’s oxygen that the patients need. How could we save patients in ICU when we don’t have oxygen?” she asked.

As many as 86 COVID patients are undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the kin of the deceased have blamed the police administration and hospital authorities for the deaths.

Bhim Hospital’s Information Officer Narayan Pokharel said attempts were being made to manage oxygen.

Meanwhile, Universal Teaching Hospital’s Chief Administrative Officer Kamal Dhakal said, “We need up to 700 cylinders of oxygen every day, but supply is way short. Moreover, the number of patients is increasing daily. We could barely manage it today,” he said.

At Universal Teaching Hospital, some 180 COVID patients are currently being administered medical oxygen. Most patients there need high flow oxygen support.

Amid this, hospitals like Universal Teaching Hospital in Rupandehi are also making patients’ family members sign a consent form which states that the family members would not blame the hospital, doctors, nurses or any other staff if the patient died due to oxygen shortage.