Oxygen tank supplies running out amid COVID-19 surge

Teodoro Trinidad not only carries face masks, , or first aid kits but also an in his car every day.

“Nakikita naman natin na full capacity na ang mga so kailangan natin na maghanda,” said Trinidad.

EJ Katherine Letrero was frightened when two hospitals refused to admit her grandmother who was infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and had difficulty breathing due to pneumonia.

“Imagine niyo naman po ‘yun kung sobrang emergency na, hindi na makahinga di ba tapos punuan pa ‘yung ospital, so nakakatakot po,” said Letrero.

Because of this, she also plans to buy his own oxygen tank. However, it’s hard for her to find a suppilier.

At the Amse Medical Supplies Store, the oxygen concentrator that was previously ignored has run out.

“‘Yung concentrator na iyon isasaksak lang po through, saksakan lang po ng supply ng kuryente tapos kaya na niya mag-produce ng 24 hours oxygen. Tapos ‘yung pinagkaiba nya sa tank di na kailangan ng refill po,” said JC Pacheco, liaison officer of the store.

Oxygen tank supplies running out amid COVID-19 surge

Oxygen tanks are also out of stock, and the rest, are already reserved. They are also running out of suppliers due to the sudden rise in demand not only of COVID-19 patients, but also of those who store their own tanks.

More and more people are buying oxygen tanks at medical supply stores in Bambang in .

For Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, who is part of the technical working group of the Department of Health, storing oxygen tanks is not a bad idea.

“At least kung mayroon silang some kind of recourse within the kung kailangan man natin silang abisuhan na pumunta sa ospital hindi sila nagmamadali nang sobra-sobra,” said Ong-Lim.

But other experts of the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) also reminded that medical supervision should be accompanied by this.

“Hindi ito madaling gamitin. There are safety issues, there are dangers so kung mag-o-oxygen sa bahay, out of desperation, do it under medical supervision,” said HPAAC Spokesperson Dr. Antonio Dans.

This is also the advice of the Department of Health, which said that it is possible that hospitals will run out of supply when all oxygen tanks are sold out.