Copper thieves almost cost the lives of patients after they stole a 10 metre Intensive Care Unit (ICU) oxygen pipe at a State hospital in Gauteng.
COPPER THEFT CONDEMNED BY GAUTENG MEC FOR HEALTH
Yesterday, Monday, 19 December morning, 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. This led to the discovery that the oxygen supply pipe was tampered with.
The Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko then 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 the 10 metre copper pipe which supplies oxygen to various sections of the main Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.
CASE OPENED AGAINST THE CABLE THIEVES
“A case has since been opened with the Diepkloof SAPS.”
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“The people who stole the copper 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,” explained MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko.
ICU PATIENTS TO BE MOVED BACK AFTER REPAIRS
Fortunately, 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.
According to the Health MEC, the process to move the patients back into the main ICU will commence tomorrow, Wednesday, 21 December.