Hospitals in KP to use oxygen for Covid, emergency cases only

Published April 29, 2021
The health department directed the government hospitals across the province to provide medical oxygen only to Covid-19 patients and visitors needing emergency care. — AP
The health department directed the government hospitals across the province to provide medical oxygen only to Covid-19 patients and visitors needing emergency care. — AP

PESHAWAR: As Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recorded 37 more deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, the health department directed the government hospitals across the province to provide medical oxygen only to Covid-19 patients and visitors needing emergency care.

The department issued a set of guidelines for the use of oxygen stocks to the director general (health services), hospital and medical directors of the medical teaching institutions, district health officers, and medical superintendents of the district headquarters hospitals.

According to the department, 14 per cent of Covid-19 patients need medical oxygen.

“Patients develop severe respiratory failure, hypoxia and five per cent may fall critically-ill requiring intensive care or invasive mechanical ventilation. Oxygen therapy is recommended for all patients with severe to critical illnesses,” it said.

The department said the measure was taken in light of the surging Covid-19 patient hospitalisations and demand for oxygen.

It said the hospitals should have well-trained staff to comply with the protocols laid down for the safe use of the precious resource i.e. medical oxygen.

37 more lose life to virus in province

The department also suggested ways of oxygen production to ensure its easy availability to patients.

“Medical oxygen must contain at least 82 per cent pure oxygen. It can be supplied from liquid oxygen plant from a central bulk storage liquid oxygen tank located at medical facility for intra-hospital distribution of vaporised oxygen via a pipeline.

“Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plant, which is a large, central source of oxygen generation also at facility level from where it is supplied to the wards or, with a booster compressor, be used to fill cylinders for distribution.”

According to the guidelines, oxygen concentrator, is self-contained, portable, electrically powered medical device designed to concentrate oxygen from ambient air using PSA technology, drawing air from the environment, removes nitrogen to produce a continuous source of more than 90 per cent concentrated oxygen. It shouldn’t be used if oxygen concentration slips below 82 per cent.

They were also meant for oxygen storage and intra-hospital distribution to fulfil the needs of patients.

“Oxygen should be compressed in cylinders and stored at a gas manufacturing plant or a PSA plant and then transported to health facilities. Cylinders can be used in one of two ways, either by installing them directly within patient areas or by connecting groups of cylinders linked in parallel – to then pipe oxygen to specific areas at the ward level. When cylinders are the only source of oxygen in a health facility, a strong supply-chain is required to ensure ongoing availability.”

The department warned that oxygen supported combustion and the addition of concentrated oxygen to a fire increased its intensity considerably and it could even support the combustion of materials that didn’t normally burn.

It asked hospitals about open flames near places, where oxygen is used.

“Smoking is strictly prohibited near oxygen generation units in hospitals, maintenance electrical wiring, short-circuiting and sparks in busy hospitals,” it said.

Meanwhile, a health department’s report revealed that 37 people died of Covid-19 and 927 were infected with it in the province on Wednesday.

According to it, 16 of the fresh deaths were reported in Peshawar district, seven in Mardan, four in Swat, three in Bajaur, two in Kohat, and one each in Charsadda, Upper and Lower Dir, Abbottabad and Dera Ismail Khan.

A total of 145 new cases were reported in Peshawar and 145 in Mardan.

The province’s death toll from the virus totalled 3,238 and cases 116,523.

Of the Covid-19 patients, 101,342 have recovered. A total of 1,291 recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours.

The report said currently, the province had a total of 11,943 active cases.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2021

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