NEW DELHI — When the head of a hospital in a suburb of Mumbai called her oxygen supplier earlier this month, he had disturbing news: He couldn’t meet the full order. Demand for oxygen in the region was just too high as health facilities struggled to keep pace with rising coronavirus cases.

So the hospital chief executive Vaishali Jadhav made the decision that no medical professional wants to make. She began turning away new patients to make sure the hospital could care for existing ones.

She wasn’t the only one scrambling to deal with the unprecedented shortage in India for medical oxygen, a crucial component in treating covid-19 patients.

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