On May 12, amid the ongoing pandemic, the situation in the Purnia district of Bihar was grim. There were 250 lives on stake. Shortage of oxygen supplies, no oxygen bed, and severity of patients was all over the district. When the IAS officer of the district got the SOS about the critical condition of the district, he led ‘Operation Oxygen’ and saved all the lives single handedly.
The 2011 batch IAS officer, Rahul Kumar led the operation for 8 hours to handle the situation and minimize the death rate. Upon reaching the Sardar hospital he was informed that the only oxygen plant in the district has some issues and the supply was hurdled by it. The backup from nearby district Bhagalpur failed to reach the hospital on time.
“I saw patients on oxygen support. But, the hospital said they were mostly empty oxygen cylinders. That was when I decided I have to work on war footing,” said Rahul. He immediately ordered the conversion of one part of the Sardar hospital to war room.
As the panic has spread faster than the actual issue. So his first task was to prevent the spread of rumours and fake news. He had to control the panic. His next step was to make appeals to all to return the unused oxygen cylinders to the hospital. DMs of neighboring district also rushed to help in the time of need.
The director of Mata Gujari Memorial Medical Hospital in Kishanganj sent the first 10 cylinders and 30 jumbo cylinders to Sardar hospital. This was followed by 3 other districts supply, Kathiar, Kishanganj and Supaul. The DM also contacted nearby private hospitals for 100 more cylinders which were provided soon.
“Those were the toughest few hours,” says Rahul Kumar after saving 250 lives.
Image credits: The New Indian Express, munnupintu.com (Image is for representational purpose only)