Tebogo Msimanga |
The Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko has called for the police to leave no stone unturned to bring to book criminals who put patients’ lives at risk when they cut and stole a 10-metre copper pipe which supplies oxygen to various sections of the main Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH).
This follows an incident on Monday (19 December) morning when clinicians at the facility noticed that the flow of oxygen was lower than normal and reported the matter to the Department of Infrastructure Development which is responsible for the plant room where the stolen pipe runs.
MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko said this led to the discovery that the oxygen supply pipe was tampered with. A case has since been opened with the Diepkloof SAPS.
“The people who stole the copper pipe should not just be charged with theft but also with attempted murder. They intentionally put the lives of 24 patients at risk, 19 of whom were on life support and depended on access to oxygen through artificial ventilation”.
Gauteng Health spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said the patients were immediately evacuated to another ward where ventilation was continued. “A contractor was immediately called on-site and the copper pipe has since been replaced”. The process to move patients back into the main ICU will commence on Wednesday, 21 December 2022.