At least 33 coronavirus patients have died after a hospital on Indonesia’s main island of Java ran out of liquid oxygen amid a nationwide surge in Covid-19 cases, a hospital official said.
The patients with severe coronavirus infections died after the central supply of oxygen ran out late on Saturday at Dr Sardjito General Hospital in Yogyakarta city due to delays from suppliers over the weekend, said hospital spokesman Banu Hermawan.
The oxygen shortage in the city’s largest hospital was due to an increase in patients arriving in deteriorating condition.
At least 63 virus patients died during treatment for Covid-19 in the hospital from Saturday — 33 of them during the period when the central liquid oxygen supply ran out — even though the hospital switched to using oxygen cylinders during the outage, Mr Hermawan said. Medical oxygen comes in liquid and compressed forms.
“Their deteriorating condition contributed the most to their deaths,” he added.
The hospital’s central oxygen supply was operational again on Sundaymorning after 15 tons of liquid oxygen were delivered.
The hospital had asked health authorities for help with the shortage, including requesting supplies from other hospitals as the supply o declined to critical levels late on Saturday, he said.
Mr Hermawan added that the hospital switched to oxygen cylinders, including 100 donated by Yogyakarta regional police.
Indonesia is battling an explosion of Covid-19 cases which have strained its health care system.
Across Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, hospitals began to erect plastic tents in mid-June to serve as makeshift intensive care units, and patients waited for days before being admitted.
Oxygen tanks were rolled out on the pavement for those lucky enough to receive them, while others were told they would need to find their own supply.