Port Moresby hospital emergency chief explains tragic oxygen death

PNG oxygen-related tragedy
Images of the tragic oxygen-related death at Port Moresby General Hospital amid a covid-19 crisis with a desperate staff shortage have gione viral on social media. Image: EMTV News

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

Papua New Guinea’s main hospital emergency chief has clarified the tragic death of a female patient dying while trying to access oxygen.

The head of the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) emergency department, Dr Sam Yockopua, said the patient died while trying to access oxygen canisters in an outdoor area of the emergency wing.

Speaking to EMTV News, Dr Yockopua said the emergency area was in the middle of decontamination due to positive cases at the emergency department on that day.

He said that there had been four asthmatic cases and they were put outside on oxygen-driven nebulisers.

The patient, whose picture went viral on social media, had terminal post-TB bronchiectasis with a reactive airway that required nebulisers.

Dr Yockopua said the unnamed patient had died while trying to retain oxygen.

He said it was a “chaotic day”, full of patients and that many of his staff were covid-19 positive and had been isolated.

Dr Yockopua added that while the need for health services during this time was massive, there was only a limited number of health workers on duty to cater for this huge demand.

Asia Pacific Report publishes EMTV News articles with permission.

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