Six patients died when their oxygen supply was interrupted at Shifa Private Hospital in Durban. Lenmed Group spokesperson Michelle Naidoo is quoted in The Times as saying the incident occurred at the hospital during the early hours of the morning on Saturday, 2 January.
“At the time, 77 patients were admitted in the hospital. The hospital staff responded immediately and attended to all patients who were receiving supplemental oxygen and ventilation and who were affected by the disruption.
“Treating physicians were notified by the hospital and arrived to render assistance. During the process, all patients in need of resuscitation received the requisite attention. Regrettably, six patients died,” she said.
The Times reports that the Lenmed Group has launched an urgent investigation. “Lenmed has also been in contact with the supplier of the oxygen equipment and infrastructure to determine the exact cause of the interruption,” Naidoo said.
At least two inquest dockets were opened at the police station after the death of the six COVID-19-positive patients on 2 January. According to a Daily News report, police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed that Sydenham police were investigating the deaths of two people, aged 47 and 57, who died in the hospital on Randles Road.
A police source confirmed that both the dead were admitted at Lenmed Shifa Private Hospital and were being treated for COVID-19. However, at 7.30am on 2 January, they died. “The families were later informed that they had passed on due to a malfunction of the oxygen tank,” the source said.
Daily News reports that it learnt about the incident when a source alleged that two families had asked private pathologist Reggie Perumal to conduct the post-mortems because it was alleged that an oxygen tank malfunction was behind the deaths.
The source also said the four remaining families would also go the same route.
Full report in The Times
Full Daily News report