Oxygen is the life-saving “drug” in this pandemic: With the increase in Covid-19 sufferers, demand in Vienna’s hospitals is growing rapidly. Manufacturers have taken measures to prevent oxygen shortages.
Oxygen is delivered to the Divine Savior Hospital four times a month – in a liquid state at minus 183 degrees. Due to the pandemic, the hospital currently needs a quarter more oxygen than in 2019.
Athe Grafinger (Divine Savior) in an interview
The head of the Covid-19 ward on the urgency of oxygen.
Ventilation for weeks is necessary
“We see that the patients now need oxygen earlier in the course of the disease, sometimes on the fourth or fifth day of the illness on the normal ward,” says Athe Grafinger, the head of the Covid-19 ward. “And ventilated patients with Covid are ventilated significantly longer than with other diseases, often for several weeks.”
Provided for transport and bottles
In Austria there are three large oxygen suppliers who supply industrial companies as well as hospitals with the liquid gas: It is produced in air separation plants.
“Specifically, the air is sucked in, cleaned, compressed and cooled until the gases contained in the air change to a liquid state. We’re talking about oxygen, 21 percent, nitrogen and argon, ”explains Andreas X. Müller, Managing Director of Linde Gas.
Bottlenecks can arise if the bottles for filling and transport capacities are lacking. None of this is an issue in Austria, the manufacturers assure. “Generally we have very large production capacities. In addition, we took precautions at the beginning of the pandemic, ”assures Müller. The transport capacities have been greatly expanded.
Oxygen after discharge from the hospital
Sales manager Uwe Fiala on the need for mobile oxygen.
Mobile oxygen devices in demand
Even after discharge from the hospital, many Covid 19 patients need oxygen. The need for mobile oxygen devices is correspondingly high. The retailer Oxycare recently doubled its business. “Due to the corona situation, the increase is of course enormous. Almost 70 percent of the discharged Covid patients from the hospitals need oxygen, ”explains sales manager Uwe Fiala. In the intensive care unit, a person needs around ten liters of oxygen per minute.