9 dead in Russia Covid hospital after oxygen pipe rupture
Official says the oxygen supply was interrupted when 71 patients were in intensive care
Nine coronavirus patients died on Monday in Russia’s republic of North Ossetia after an oxygen pipe ruptured in a hospital in the capital Vladikavkaz, authorities said.
“Nine patients with coronavirus died due to the lack of oxygen at the Republic Clinical Hospital of Vladikavkaz,” Russian news agencies cited the ministry as saying.
They also cited the republic’s acting head Sergei Minyaylo as saying that “there was a rupture of the oxygen pipe” and “the oxygen supply was interrupted”.
The health ministry said that 71 patients were in intensive care at the time of the accident, including 13 supported by “mechanical ventilation”.
All nine patients that died were on ventilators, it said.
Minyaylo said that the lungs of the nine patients had already suffered “90 per cent damage” before the pipeline ruptured and said it was too early to blame their deaths on the accident.
He said that the problem was “promptly detected and eliminated within 30 to 40 minutes” and the rest of the patients were transferred to “oxygen cylinders and backup oxygen sources”.
He added that the North Ossetia republic in Russia’s North Caucasus region has no problem supplying its hospitals with oxygen.
Russia has seen a number of accidents in its coronavirus hospitals lead to the deaths of patients during the pandemic.
In June, three people died in a fire at a hospital in the Russian city of Ryazan southeast of Moscow, with a faulty ventilator believed to be the cause of the blaze.
Several people also died in May last year in fires at hospitals in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, with faulty ventilators likewise believed to have sparked the blazes.
Russia is the world’s fourth worst-hit country in terms of coronavirus cases with nearly 6.5 million registered, according to an AFP tally.
With 165,650 deaths from the virus, Russia has the highest official Covid-19 toll in Europe — even as authorities have been accused of downplaying the severity of the country’s outbreak.
Under a broader definition for deaths linked to the coronavirus, statistics agency Rosstat said that Russia has seen at least 290,000 fatalities as of the end of May.