RAHIM YAR KHAN: Two Covid-19 patients died while more than a dozen others faced breathing issue when disruption occurred in central oxygen supply at Corona ICU ward of Shaikh Zayed Medical College and Hospital (SZMCH) on Wednesday night.

The disruption started after 5pm when the red alarm started from oxygen machines and messages of low pressure [of oxygen] appeared on ventilators.

An attendant, Mian Ahmed, said he along others requested the ICU head to address the issue but nobody listened to them.

Later, they called the principal and the medical superintendent but to no avail [till 8pm]. Ahmed said Covid patient Abdul Qayyum allegedly died due to lack of oxygen. He said after 8pm when the condition of some patients started deteriorating then the matter was brought into the knowledge of Deputy Commissioner Dr Khurram Shehzad who along with other officials reached Covid-19 ICU and called the principal and the MS.

The principal and MS briefed the DC that there was no casualty of Covid-19 patient due to deficiency of oxygen. They told the DC that the patient was critical due to other ailments. However, they admitted that a technical fault occurred in central oxygen system.

They said as per initial investigation, oxygen supply line got frozen. They told the DC that oxygen was provided to the patients by using alternative sources.

On the other hand, the DC has formed a committee to probe the issue. The committee comprises ADC Revenue Dr Sidra Saleem, head of anaesthesia department Dr Saira Sadaf, head of community medicine Dr Ghulam Murtaza, district emergency officer Dr Adil Rehman and EXEN (buildings) Nauman. The inquiry committee will submit its report within 24 hours.

In a late night development, another Covid-19 patient Manzoor Ahmed of Liaqatpur tehsil expired in the ICU due to ‘erratic oxygen supply’.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2021

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