Thalita Rocha Lima was visiting the crowded Covid-19 ward this month in Manaus, the largest Brazilian city in the Amazon, when her mother-in-law Maria and other patients suddenly became restless, sweating and gasping for air as their fingertips turned purple.
“She will die,” said Mrs. Rocha Lima, who rushed to the corridor, screamed: “I ran to check the equipment and then realized: There was no oxygen left.”
She said the hospital director informed her that the hospital had run out of oxygen and did not know when he would get more. Ms Rocha Lima said her mother-in-law, a 67-year-old retired nurse, suffocated about 14 hours after running out of oxygen, along with others in her ward.
With cases of Covid-19 increasing sharply in most parts of the world, oxygen scarcity is forcing hospitals to ration them for patients and is leading to a spike. Coronavirus pandemicThe number of dead. The problem is particularly acute in the developing world, but it has also struck hospitals in London and Los Angeles.
From Brazil to Zambia, overcrowded hospitals are calling for scarce resources to restore the emergency supply of oxygen. In Mexico, Lebanon and South Africa, people are stocking up on oxygen bottles to try to avoid excess Covid-19 wards, which is driving up prices and making it difficult for poor families to rent tanks. In Mexico, armed bandits steal oxygen tanks.
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