Israeli Coronavirus Patient Dies After Hospital Staff Fail to Notice Ventilator Was Disconnected

Hospital says staff was busy responding to other ICU emergencies, as number of patients hospitalized in serious condition continue to rise

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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Ichilov Hospital's coronavirus intensive care unit, January 2020. The subjects have no connection to the content of the article.
Ichilov Hospital's coronavirus intensive care unit, January 2020. The subjects have no connection to the content of the article.Credit: Hadas Frosh
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

A 47-year-old coronavirus patient died on Saturday after his ventilator disconnected and medical staff failed to notice for several minutes., with the hospital saying intensive care unit workers had been handling several emergency situations at once.

Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital said that “in light of the high number of simultaneous alerts in the intensive care unit,” medical staff “busy responding to emergency alerts regarding other patients” were able to free up and detect the disconnection only after a few minutes, with the patient dying a few hours later. The patient was admitted to the hospital last week in serious condition. 

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Following the incident, the hospital said that its wards are facing a "heavy workload that is challenging to the staff," and that it will increase the number of staff in the coronavirus wards and reduce the number of beds.

Complaints of increasingly cramped coronavirus hospital wards across the country have been proliferating, as the number of patients in serious condition continues to climb.

Last week, doctors refused to connect two patients in serious condition to life-saving ECMO oxygenation machines, which supports cardiac and pulmonary function,citing a lack of personnel to provide treatment.

The number of patients hospitalized in serious condition has increased steadily in recent weeks, with 1,184 such cases on Saturday, compared to 395 a month earlier, on December 16, and with 274 of those on ventilators. 

Forty-nine people died of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the death toll to 3,959.

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