Ventilators supplied to different states of the country have been reported faulty. The issue came to the notice in a span of last 24 hours when the states like Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra have reported the ventilators to be faulty.
Atleast 237 of the 320 ventilators supplied to Punjab are not working properly. The medical college in Patiala received 98 ventilators from the PM CARES Fund. Though 48 of them were made functional after repair, they are still not put to use because the anaesthetists are not confident lest they should break down at critical times. Another 50 are non-functional there. The college is using its own 61 ventilators
Similar is the case with Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot where 71 out of 80 ventilators supplied have reportedly been found faulty. These ventilators were provided to Punjab under the PM-Cares Fund.
Medical college doctors have said these ventilators are non-functional and conked off within 1-2 hours of use. Anaesthetists have said that these ventilators sent by the Centre cannot be trusted as the machines abruptly stopped working while in use. Red flags were raised regarding the quality of the ventilators being supplied.
Non-availability of an adequate number of ventilators put the authorities in a tough spot with over 300 Covid patients admitted at the hospital.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan has approved the hiring of engineers and technicians to repair the faulty ventilators. The technicians are expected to reach Faridkot on Wednesday.
Similar reports have emerged from Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh where either the ventilators are faulty or they are lying unused due to the lack of trained man-power who can operate them.
The doctors said the machines are not generating the required pressure and sometimes they turn off suddenly, which is very dangerous for the patients. It is difficult to manage critical patients and save their lives with these machines and so they need to be replaced, the letter said.
A spokesperson of the Maharashtra unit of the Congress on Friday alleged the supply of ventilators for COVID-19 care was a “big scam”.
Sachin Sawant tweeted a copy of a report by the Government Medical College in Aurangabad that claimed all 25 ventilators supplied to the institution under the PM CARES fund were defective.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday came down heavily on the Union government over allegedly faulty ventilators supplied through the PM CARES fund to the state and demanded an inquiry saying that these machines can threaten the lives of patients.
Taking to Twitter, the CM said that the Union government “had made 1900 ventilators available to the state from the PM Cares Fund. The government of India was responsible for the installation and maintenance of these ventilators. According to doctors, many of these ventilators have technical shortcomings due to which they can turn out to be dangerous for patients.”
“Doctors said that there is a pressure drop problem in these ventilators. These ventilators shut down after continuously working for 1-2 hours. These also have problems of sudden decrease in PiO2, and failure of oxygen sensors and compressors,” the CM said.
The state government, however, contended that there is nothing wrong with the machines.
Medical Education minister Vishwas Sarang said, “There is no such information that the ventilators from PM Relief Fund are bad. Thanks to our Prime Minister, we have worked to upgrade health services continuously in the country. The Centre has given such a large number of ventilators to save lives”.
But ventilators in other parts of the state — supplied to the government hospitals under the PM Cares fund — are also throwing up glitches. In other hospitals, they are lying unused as there are no expert medical personnel to operate them.
In Sagar’s Budelkhand Medical College, there are 72 ventilators but only five are being used in the Intensive Care Unit for Covid. The rest are lying unused. The Dean, Dr RA Verma, said, “We don’t have expert doctors to operate them”.