In a bid to improve timely access to medical oxygen for patients in need of critical care, Murehwa District Hospital has installed a piped Oxygen reticulation system in most of its wards at the facility.
By Michael Gwarisa
The installation replaces the old system of Oxygen Supply where they would procure Oxygen using Oxygen tanks, store the Oxygen at the facility, and in times of need, they would deliver or distribute it in the wards using Oxygen stands.
Dr Joseph Taruona, the District Medical Officer (DMO) for Murehwa said the old system exposed healthcare workers to accidents as tanks were heavy and would at times fall and injure staff in the process of moving the tanks from the storage site to the wards.
Now we have a new system which has been put in place, which is piped Oxygen. Our Oxygen is now being stored from outside the wars and the tanks or storage systems and Oxygen flows through these pipes to the patient and on every patient’s bed so there is no need for us to move the tanks to the ward, we connect the patient directly to the piped oxygen,” said Dr Taruona.
Apart from reducing accidents associated with carrying oxygen, he added that the advantages of piped oxygen are that it is less time-consuming, and if there is a critical patient, there is no longer a need to move around looking for oxygen tanks to looking for oxygen carriers.
“I can say all the wards are now connected to the Oxygen. The Oxygen reticulation system has been installed and completed in the female pediatric wards. The current installations are being done in three departments: the Male Ward, Maternity Ward, and Theatre. After completion, all our wards will be covered by the reticulation system.”
The package includes Oxygen cylinders fitted in the storeroom, pipes connected throughout the wards and connected to patients’ beds.
The piping for bulk and cylinder systems are the same and comprises a larger diameter copper pipe which gets incrementally smaller as the distance from the plant room increases. The reticulation is often piped in the form of a ‘loop’ where possible with multiple shutoff valves located throughout the facility in order to isolate sections for maintenance or repairs. The pipes are fed to individual service outlets which are used by clinical staff to plug devices into the system as needed.
Medical oxygen contains at least 82% pure oxygen, is free from any contamination and is generated by an oil-free compressor. Only high quality, medical-grade oxygen should be given to patients. The appropriate choice of oxygen source depends on manyfactors, including: the amount of oxygen needed at the treatment centre; the available infrastructure, cost, capacity and supply chain for local production of medicinal gases; the reliability of electrical supply; and access to maintenance services and spare parts, etc.