COVID-19: Critical patients evacuated from Karachi trauma centre after oxygen plant stops working – Press Release

A picture of the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Trauma Centre. Photo: SMBB Trauma Centre website
A picture of the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Trauma Centre. Photo: SMBB Trauma Centre website
  • Dozens of patients shifted to other hospitals, already burdened with COVID-19 patients, from SMBB Trauma Centre. 
  • Trauma Centre’s CEO says “situation is under control”. 
  • Technicians, experts working to ensure oxygen plant is restored, says Sindh’s parliamentary secretary on health. 

KARACHI: Dozens of critically ill COVID-19 patients were shifted from the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto (SMBB) Trauma Centre Wednesday after an oxygen plant stopped functioning, as per a report in The News.

This was the second such incident taking place at a Sindh hospital within a month. An oxygen crisis had earlier forced a tertiary-care health facility in District Korangi to shift COVID-19 patients to other hospitals.

Four COVID-19 patients had to be shifted from the Sindh Government Hospital Korangi to the Lyari General Hospital after pre-filled oxygen cylinders could not be supplied to the health facility on time.

On the SMBB Trauma Centre episode, a health official confirmed to The News that one of the two oxygen plants of the hospital suddenly stopped functioning on Tuesday night.

“There were dozens of patients on high and low flow oxygen, who had to be shifted to other hospitals in the city to save their lives,” he disclosed.

Patients were shifted to the adjoining Civil Hospital Karachi, Sindh Services Hospital and Lyari General Hospital after the oxygen crisis came to the notice of the trauma centre’s administration.

The health official said several ambulances were used to transfer the trauma centre’s patients to the other hospitals, which were already burdened with coronavirus patients.

Till the filing of this report on Wednesday night, officials said work had yet to begin work on repairing the oxygen plant. They added that the fault in the oxygenation plant had reduced the trauma centre’s ability to treat seriously sick patients to half.

It was not clear if any patient had lost life during shifting to other hospitals, but experts said in such circumstances, often the condition of patients on high flow oxygen deteriorated and there are chances of casualties taking place as a result.

Probe to be conducted

Sindh Parliamentary Secretary Health MPA Qasim Soomro confirmed the oxygen plant malfunctioning. However, he said that technicians and experts were working to ensure the plant was restored to facilitate the centre’s patients.

“At the moment, all we are striving for is to make the closed oxygen unit functional and get our patients back to the ICU, High Dependency Unit and the wards,” he said.

“Fact-finding and fixing responsibility [on officials] will follow and if anyone is found guilty, he or she will not be spared,” he added.

Dr Sabir Memon, CEO of the SMBB Trauma Centre, confirmed the closure of the oxygen plant but said: “The situation is under control”.

Health officials said they had ordered the inspection of all oxygen generation plants and tanks in hospitals across Sindh to ensure that no such incident repeats itself in future as hundreds of patients are under treatment at various health facilities in the province.