Police have launched a manhunt for suspects who allegedly stole a 10-metre intensive care unit (ICU) oxygen pipe, which almost took the lives of 24 patients at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Gauteng.
24 patients’ lives were in jeopardy, 19 of whom were on life support and depended on access to oxygen through artificial ventilation, due to copper thieves at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.
This happened in the early morning hours of December 19, 2022. The Department of Infrastructure Development, which is responsible for the plant room where the stolen pipe run was discovered, was alerted by clinicians at the facility who noticed a lower flow of oxygen than normal.
The people who stole the copper should not just be charged with theft but also with attempted murder. “They intentionally put the lives of 24 patients at risk, 19 of whom were on life support and depended on access to oxygen through artificial ventilation,” explained MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko.
Fortunately, no deaths were reported, and the patients were successfully evacuated to another ward, where ventilation was continued. A contractor was immediately called to the site, and the copper pipe has since been replaced.
According to the Health MEC, the process to move the patients back into the main ICU will commence tomorrow, Wednesday, December 21.