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Covid: 33 patients die amid oxygen shortage in Indonesian hospital

AP/Yogyakarta
Filed on July 4, 2021
A patient being carried on stretcher in a Covid hospital in Java, Indonesia. — AP

Authorities at Dr Sardjito General Hospital in Yogyakarta city said the hospital ran out of liquid oxygen overnight


Dozens of coronavirus patients died after a public hospital on Indonesia’s main island of Java ran out of liquid oxygen amid a nationwide surge in Covid-19 cases, a hospital official said on Sunday.

At least 33 patients with severe coronavirus infections died after the central supply of liquid medical oxygen ran out late on Saturday at Dr Sardjito General Hospital in Yogyakarta city due to delays from suppliers over the weekend, said hospital spokesman Banu Hermawan.

The oxygen shortage in the city’s largest hospital was due to an increase in patients arriving in deteriorating condition, Hermawan said.

At least 63 patients died during treatment for Covid-19 in the hospital since Saturday — 33 of them during the period when the central liquid oxygen supply ran out — even though the hospital switched to using oxygen cylinders during the outage, he said. Medical oxygen comes in liquid and compressed forms.

“Their deteriorating condition contributed the most to their deaths,” said Hermawan.

The hospital’s central oxygen supply was operational again at 4.45am on Sunday, after 15 tonnes of liquid oxygen were delivered.

The hospital had asked health authorities for help with the oxygen shortage, including requesting oxygen supplies from other hospitals as the supply of liquid oxygen declined to critical levels late Saturday, he explained.

Hermawan said the hospital switched to oxygen cylinders, including 100 cylinders donated by the Yogyakarta regional police.

Indonesia is battling an explosion of Covid-19 cases that has strained its healthcare system.

Across Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, hospitals began to erect plastic tents in mid-June to serve as makeshift intensive care units, and patients waited for days before being admitted. Oxygen tanks were rolled out on the sidewalk for those lucky enough to receive them, while others were told they would need to find their own supply.





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