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Groote Schuur Hospital’s oxygen consumption up by 100% since May

This is one of the details that emerged during a webinar on Thursday, co-hosted by the South African Medical Research Council.

Groote Schuur Hospital in the Westen Cape. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

Editors' note: a previous version of this story stated that oxygen consumption went up by 50%. This has been corrected in the headline and body text.

CAPE TOWN - Groote Schuur Hospital's oxygen consumption has gone up by at least 100% from what it was in May this year.

This is one of the details that emerged during a webinar on Thursday, co-hosted by the South African Medical Research Council.

The idea was to provide a platform for Western Cape doctors to share their experiences in treating patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

A graph presented by Groote Schuur Hospital doctor Greg Calligaro showed daily oxygen usage at the facility hovers above the 4,000 kilograms per day mark.

Two months later, it's just over 8,000 kilograms per day.

Advising other healthcare practitioners, Calligaro explained this comes as the demand for more COVID-19 patients requiring high-flow nasal oxygen therapy increases.

“You can see the increases in oxygen usage as different batches of high-flow nasal cannula machines were delivered to our hospital and this is something that really has to be considered based on your setting and your oxygen supply chain.”

Calligaro said new ways of thinking of treatment were also making a big difference. For instance, the option of putting serious cases on high-flow nasal oxygen outside the intensive care unit.

“Survivors require the therapy for over a week on average, so you must be cognizant of the fact that patients are going to stay in a high-flow bed for a certain length of time.”

The discussion platform aims to share knowledge within the province and bring the different layers of the provincial health system closer together, in the hopes of sharing new and useful knowledge with the rest of the country.

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