The Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital has this afternoon refuted the claims of the patients that died from the Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in August this year due to lack of oxygen.
An article published in The Sunday Monitor on November 29th 2020, alleges that two COVID19 patients died due to lack of oxygen because of a faulty Oxygen Plant at Mulago National Referral Hospital. This has continued to spread doubt in the country’s capacity to respond to the pandemic.
Dr Byarugaba categorically stated that the patients, who include a 70-year-old referral from Rubaga Hospital ICU, a 27 year-old case referred from Hoima Regional Referral Hospital and 46 year-old case, all died of severe COVID-19 with multi-organ dysfunction.
About 20% of COVID19 cases progress to a very severe stage leading to multiple organs in the body failing to function hence succumbing to the disease due to delayed medical attention, he added.
Government earlier procured seven automated oxygen plants to help the Ministry of Health to meet the oxygen needs in the country.
Of the seven, there are four (4) newly installed plants at the Hospital making it the largest Oxygen plant in the country that is able to generate 2,083 liters of oxygen per minute and 2,999,520 liters in 24hours which can serve about 900 patients.
The plants which are automated cannot generate oxygen when its purity levels go below 90% and all patients in need of oxygen are connected to a supply of medical grade oxygen which is always above 90%. This is contrary to what the authors alleged that patients are supplied with “hot air”.
Dr Byarugaba has also clarified that the Oxygen is delivered to the user wards through pipes when its purity is ranging between 93% and 100 % not at 20% as the Sunday Monitor newspaper claims.
Admission into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is meant to offer life support for critically ill patients whose body systems have failed to function on their own by using machines such as ventilators and other high end medications.
Uganda is currently in the fourth stage of the pandemic where there is a widespread of community infections. COVID-19 presents with flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, high temperature, chest pain and difficulty in breathing.