Oxygen supplies to hospitals across Louisiana are running low — and some have only one or two days of supplies left — and any interruption caused by the destruction of Hurricane Ida could be serious, according to Premier Inc., one of the largest hospital supplies purchasing groups in the United States. the country.
Ida battered much of the state Sunday night, leaving hundreds of thousands without power at a time when hospitals in the Southeast had been struggling with oxygen shortages for weeks. Driven by an increase in Covid-19 cases, some hospitals rely on reserve tanks with no other backup options.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation with access and roads – it remains to be seen what? could happen in the coming days,” said Premier’s Chief Customer Officer, Andy Brailo. “What we all Of course we want to prevent hospitals from not having sufficient oxygen for their patients or endangering their patients.”
He said vans have partially replenished hospitals because demand was so high. Supply is further limited because oxygen must be delivered within hours, meaning supplies must come within a 250-mile radius of a hospital, he added. Premier is coordinating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency about the region’s oxygen scarcity.
The shortage goes beyond hospital supply. Mr Brailo said there was also a high demand for individual jerry cans and tanks used by discharged Covid patients and people with disabilities. CrowdSource Rescue, a volunteer emergency response group, conducted about a dozen oxygen-related rescues Monday, including one of a woman who was dependent on oxygen after a Covid-19 infection, according to Loren Dykes, the group’s operations director.
Over the next few days, Ms Dykes said she expected to receive more oxygen-related emergency calls, especially for Covid patients, who she said would not be as prepared as people with disabilities, who are more experienced and tend to stockpile supplies. to lay.
New Orleans has opened oxygen exchange sites for residents to get a full tank of free oxygen. Mike Hulefeld, chief operating officer of Ochsner Health, one of the largest hospital systems in Louisiana, said on Monday the hospitals were doing well thanks to generators. The hospital network had supplies for 10 days for the hospitals expected to be hardest hit, and each of the sites had backup power and fuel.
But those who rely on ventilators or oxygen concentrators to help them breathe, including recently discharged Covid-19 patients, are also at increased risk because of the power outages. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data on Medicare beneficiaries, there are 3,706 Medicare beneficiaries in Jefferson Parish who rely on power for their medical devices; in Orleans Parish, 2,215 Medicare beneficiaries are medically dependent on power.
Tariro Mzezewa reporting contributed.