KATH denies oxygen shortage claims; admits production shortfall

Management of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi has denied claims that the facility has been hit by oxygen shortage, leading to the death of patients. Although management admits the oxygen plant at the facility is producing below capacity for daily consumption, there are backup arrangements to meet the demands of patients who require oxygen. Some senior doctors at the facility claimed in a letter to the Chief Executive of the Hospital that the facility lacks basic logistics needed for the smooth running of the hospital, describing the situation as a “deathtrap”. The doctors who form the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Doctors Association claimed some patients are dying at the facility as a result of oxygen shortage. The doctors were also displeased with payments by patients before receiving blood transfusion. But the Head of the Mechanical Engineering Unit at the Hospital, Gregory Peters, has denied the claims by the doctors notwithstanding the oxygen production challenge at the facility. “We don’t have a shortage of oxygen. What we normally do, we have a supplier who brings us oxygen in bottles. As you can see, we have  a lot of bottles around at all the places we should. We always have a backup. In addition to that, we have another backup in the room so should there be any point that we even have to call the supplier that he delays, then our backup cylinders that are in there, we just bring them out, fix them unto the lines to ensure that there is a flow of oxygen,” Mr Peters told TV3.

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Oxygen demand The Hospital requires 800 cubic metres of oxygen but the plants are able to produce between 100 and 250 cubic metres. Accordingly, management have been buying oxygen from suppliers to augment what is produced by the plant. “The average consumption of the Hospital is around 800 cubic metres and the plant is able to give us about 100 cubic metres and the remaining for the past three months we have been buying from the supplier” Mr Peters. Oxygen plants outmoded Mr Peters said the two oxygen plants at the facility are outmoded, resulting in frequent breakdown. He added that lack of spare parts makes the running of the plants difficult. “Currently we have two plants at the hospital but unfortunately the plants are over aged; they are almost 20 years old and because they are outmoded getting spare parts and other things have been difficult,” he said. He added: “Because of the state of the plant , we are not able to produce enough to meet the consumption of the Hospital. So what we normally do is we supplement it with the bottles from outside that we normally purchase”. Mr Peters said one of the plants broke down and it was just recently that it was brought back on stream, indicating “the rate of breakdown is so frequent we keep buying oxygen”. He said the Hospital requires a new plant to support the work of the facility. Meanwhile, Hospital’s management has after a meeting with the doctors resolved that patients in critical need of blood transfusion would receive it before paying for the processing fee. Public Relations officer of the Hospital, Kwame Frimpong said the hospital has put measures to procure a new oxygen plant to boost production. He reiterated management’s commitment towards quality health care delivery.
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By Ibrahim Abubakar|TV3|3news.com|Ghana]]>