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Hertfordshire hospital forced to consider who should be refused oxygen

Oxygen supplies at a Hertfordshire hospital inundated with coronavirus patients became so precarious last week that officials considered how to decide who should receive the gas and who should miss out and likely die, the Guardian understands.

The oxygen system at Watford general hospital came close to breaking point on Saturday, when a critical incident was declared and staff had to tell the public not to come to the hospital. Some patients were moved out to prevent the vital system failing.

A senior clinician said: “They were [consulting] the hospital ethics committee every day and considering who they were not going to oxygenate and ventilate if they needed it, and making decisions about who would be triaged to not have oxygen and die.”

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Source: Guardian, 5 April 2020


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