Babies resuscitated due to faulty heater

2011-01-18 11:03

Two babies had to be resuscitated at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg because of a faulty heater affecting ventilators in the neo-natal intensive care unit, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said today.

“Ventilator machines flooded as the heater failed to remove moisture from the compressed air and oxygen supply,” DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said in a statement.

The provincial health department said it was aware of the incident on Monday and would issue a statement later.

Bloom said water in ventilators compromised the oxygen supply to struggling babies.

Eight of the 12 ventilators were found to be “unsafe” because of the faulty heater.

Thirteen babies were endangered, including conjoined twins Reamokgetswe and Tiroyaone, who were born last year in November, he said.

“I visited there last night and staff told me how close they came to shutting down and transferring critically ill babies elsewhere..This was a very close shave in which babies could have died.”

Technicians were able to fix the heater, but it showed how general poor maintenance led to crises at Gauteng hospitals, Bloom said.

The damaged ventilators would probably cost more than R500 000 to repair.

Preventive maintenance at hospitals needed to receive a far higher priority, he said.

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