Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital probing oxygen supply tampering incident

The hospital, like many other medical facilities in the country, is under severe pressure, especially with rising COVID-19 cases, and relies heavily on oxygen for patient treatment.

FILE: Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - An urgent investigation is under way at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto after the oxygen supply was tampered with.

Officials were alerted to the incident on Tuesday afternoon when an offsite alarm was triggered.

It was found that pressure in one of the four connected tanks in the energy centre had suddenly dropped because the valve was closed, while another valve was leaking.

The hospital, like many other medical facilities in the country, is under severe pressure, especially with rising COVID-19 cases, and relies heavily on oxygen for patient treatment.

Hospital CEO Dr Nkele Lesia said that a technician was dispatched to attend to the problem immediately.

"One of the balancing valves, which should always remain open to balance the system, was closed and that unbalanced the entire system, hence the alarm was set off. He also discovered that there was a valve that was leaking."

Lesia said that while the oxygen tanks were fixed on Tuesday, the disruption led to another, bigger problem.

"The other problem that we're currently still having and that we hope to sort out today is the fact that the regulator pilot was not pumping the amount of oxygen that is required. It should be at the pressure of around 400, it was below that. And this is clearly affecting the delivery of oxygen to patients because we have too many patients on oxygen and they need to get it at the required level of pressure."

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