Oxygen crisis hits Queen Mamohato

Oxygen crisis hits Queen Mamohato

MASERU – QUEEN Mamohato Memorial Hospital is battling a serious oxygen crisis that has forced the hospital to reserve the commodity for critically ill patients only, thepost heard this week.
Sources at the hospital said several patients were this week referred to Berea and Mafeteng Hospitals because of the dire shortage.
The hospital’s spokesperson, Thakane Mapeshoane, said the oxygen “is not totally finished but is so low that it is only being provided to patients who are in critical condition”.

She however denied that some patients had been sent to Berea and Mafeteng hospitals.
Queen Mamohato is Lesotho’s biggest referral hospital.
The oxygen shortage at Queen Mamohato could be a sign of the messy transition after Netcare which was running the hospital abruptly packed its bags last month.
Sources at the hospital said the situation was so dire that “the hospital actually referred patients to Berea and Mafeteng when it should be the other way round”.

“It is a well-known fact that hospitals that have been equipped with relevant tools, especially to treat Covid-19 patients who need oxygen, are Tšepong (the Queen’s Hospital), Mafeteng and Berea,” said the source.
“We understand that doctors referred patients to these two hospitals because they know that there will be oxygen for them when theirs has run out of supply,” she said.
Another source said some patients were returned without doctors having checked if they could get enough oxygen on their own.
Patients, the source said, have to be checked if they are to be prescribed oxygen therapy by assessing if they have rapid breathing, shortness of breath, fast heart rate, changes in the colour of their skin, sweating and other symptoms.

These things, the source said, were not checked on some patients but they were simply told to go back home.
“It might not be clear if one is running out of oxygen and if a doctor does not check such a patient timeously we end up losing such a patient,” the source said.
Mapeshoane said the little available oxygen at the hospital must be reserved for critically ill patients.
“We have to be careful when using it so that we cannot run out of it completely,” Mapeshoane said.

“The hospital is waiting to receive oxygen from Afrox hence we should be careful when using (what is still) remaining,” she said.
“We are expecting it to arrive soon.”
She said patients who are in critical condition are still being admitted while other patients who are still able to breathe on their own are being returned home so that they can be treated from home.
“The hospital is overwhelmed as most people come straight here yet there are other hospitals or clinics they could have got help from,” she said.

Earlier this year in January, hospitals in Lesotho ran out of oxygen following a surge in Covid-19 infections.
Hospital workers threatened to down tools if the Ministry of Health did not act to provide employees with the necessary equipment to fight Covid-19.
This week, the National Covid-19 Secretariat said out of the 143 people who were tested for the virus, there were 6 positive cases. At least three people died of Covid this week.

’Malimpho Majoro

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