In the 76th edition ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the COVID pandemic and advised people to consult doctors for medical help.

At 0:28 minutes into the talk, when the Prime Minister said that several doctors are also trying to keep people informed through social media, a video of a doctor demonstrating how to use a nebulizer as a ‘substitute’ for an oxygen cylinder was played.

‘Manni Ki Baat’ airs debunked video promoting false news

The clip aired in PM Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ shows doctor Alok Sethi of Sarvodaya Hospital Faridabad. The video was debunked by Alt News last week when it was widespread on social media.

Sarvodaya Hospital had taken to social media to refute the claims made by their doctor and clarified that the institute does not endorse the video. “The video has not been backed by any evidence or scientific study…Please do not follow any such practice without consulting your medical practitioner. It could lead to worsening of the disease,” the hospital wrote.

A nebulizer cannot be used as a substitute for oxygen

According to the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a nebulizer is “a machine that turns liquid medication into a mist that you inhale into the lungs over a few minutes”. Patients with a medical condition like Asthma require a nebulizer to inhale the medication.

Doctor Aviral Vatsa of Scotland’s National Health Service quote-tweeted the video and rubbished the claim. “Please don’t dub this as a substitute for oxygen…A nebulizer transforms a drug into small droplets so that it could reach deep into the lungs. Oxygen cylinders are required even with nebulizers in many cases.”

Surgeon and Group Chairman at Medanta Hospital Dr Arvinder Singh Soin took to Twitter also rubbished the claims made in the video. “A purported technique that can substitute a nebulizer machine for an oxygen cylinder to improve blood oxygen levels is totally baseless,” he wrote.

“Using air nebuliser may mildly inflate the alveoli, largely filled with liquid, to increase the internal surface area. This may allow a brief uptake of oxygen from the air. However, it’s only a short fix until one is waiting for the oxygen. The air nebuliser is certainly not a replacement for oxygen,” Alt News Science founding editor Sumiaya Shaikh explained.

Doctor in the video also refutes the claim

India Today spoke with the doctor seen in the video. His name is Dr Alok Sethi, a junior doctor who works at the cardiac department in Sarvodaya Hospital, Faridabad. He reportedly told the news outlet that he has been alerting people about the clip since the time it went viral. Rubbishing the claim – use of nebulizer as an alternative to an oxygen cylinder – he informed that he had sent the video to a person who’s completely stable, and was just trying to explain how to use a nebulizer. It was earlier pointed out by BOOM.

PM Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ therefore, aired a misleading clip made by a doctor where it was falsely claimed that a nebulizer can be used as a substitute for an oxygen cylinder.

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About the Author

Jignesh is a writer and researcher at Alt News. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He has completed his Masters in Journalism from Gujarat University.