Thursday 6 August 2020: BHB today officially ‘switched on’ its new oxygenator and thanked the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation for donating the $1 million needed for the equipment, which doubles the oxygen capacity of the hospitals and prepares it should there be a second surge of COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
The oxygenator arrived on island at the end of July and following installation, BHB Facilities staff have been trained in its use and basic maintenance. The equipment takes in air and condenses the oxygen from the air supply into a filling station. From there it can supply critical care or acute care beds in both the Acute Care Wing and General Wing of KEMH, or fill oxygen tanks.
Chief Executive Officer of BHB Dr Michael Richmond comments: “We are very grateful for this generous donation. There is no cure for COVID-19 and people hospitalised with this virus frequently need oxygen treatment, including ventilators and high flow oxygen treatments. We hope Bermuda does not experience a second surge in cases, but if we do, this equipment will help us save lives. We have the ability to expand the number of critical care and acute care beds, we have ventilators and other oxygen supplying equipment – and the oxygenator ensures we have the oxygen.
“Some hospitals overseas have run out of onsite oxygen due to the needs of COVID-19 patients. As Bermuda’s only hospital, with no other oxygen supplier on island, we could not afford for that to happen. The benefit beyond COVID-19 is that the island now has two pieces of equipment supplying oxygen, which adds redundancy into the system for our more routine treatments.”
Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mr R Scott Pearman adds: “BHCF’s donation in April meant we could go ahead and place our order early. This has been absolutely critical. We bought the last available piece of equipment from the vendor and reports now indicate a shortage of oxygenators available for purchase globally. If we had not been able to move quickly, we would not be as prepared as we now are. We would like to thank the BHCF for the donation, and also the BHB Facilities and Procurement teams for their work in purchasing and running the new equipment.”
Chair of the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation Ms Penny MacIntyre comments: “No one wants to imagine struggling to breathe for any reason. COVID-19 means all of us are at risk and we want the assurances our hospital has what it takes to take care of us. Our thanks to BHB and Dr Richmond for identifying the urgent need for the oxygenator. Our ability to act quickly is as a result of the generosity of every individual, family and corporate donor who entrust the Bermuda Hospital Charitable Foundation to make key funding decisions that better our health, safety and wellness now more than ever. What a huge relief to know we have the resources to breathe when we need it the most.”