Russian health authorities launch inquiry following media reports of COVID-19 patients dying in Rostov-on-Don hospital due to lack of oxygen
Russia’s federal healthcare watchdog, Roszdravnadzor, is carrying out an inquiry on behalf of the Health Ministry into the cause of death of 13 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Rostov-on-Don, who, according to media reports, passed away due to a lack of medical oxygen.
The news outlets 161.ru reported that on October 12, the coronavirus clinic in Rostov-on-Don’s City Hospital Number 20 was left without medical oxygen for some time due to supply issues. As a result, several patients who were hooked up to ventilators died. A hospital employee confirmed this information for 161.ru, as did an anonymous high-level source in the city’s healthcare system.
“Oxygen was lacking constantly, but on October 12 there was none for two hours [in a row] on all floors. Even those who had oxygen, were like fish thrown out of water, catching air with their gills,” the source said.
The Rostov-on-Don Health Department reported that 13 patients died at the hospital on October 12, stating that the cause of their deaths “would be established according to the results of a forensic test.” According to the Health Department, six of the hospital’s patients died on October 11, and five more died on October 14. All total, 274 patients have died at this hospital since it opened on May 5.
161.ru’s sources from the Rostov-on-Don hospital said that patients there had died due to lack of oxygen in the past.
“[Hospital] employees are forced to redistribute oxygen between patients constantly, to reduce its concentration in the mixture and disconnect some people from the system temporarily in order to help the most serious patients. According to editorial sources, on the day of the incident, oxygen ran out both in the intensive care unit and in the hospital’s general department.”
Update. In conversation with journalists, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the reports about the deaths of patients in Rostov-on-Don “very alarming,” but expressed hope that the regional authorities “will carry out the necessary procedures.” In turn, the Rostov-on-Don administration said that “the information about the number of patients who died and the causes of their deaths” is inaccurate and claimed that “in recent days there have been no” emergencies involving the hospital’s supply of oxygen.