Vologda Region hospitals were for several years supplied with technical oxygen for welding apparatuses instead of medical one
In medicine, the quality of oxygen, which is used in anaesthesia, is the issue of life and death. This is why, Vologda physicians were shocked as they knew that instead of medical oxygen, the local firm Farmatsia supplied them with technical oxygen.
In addition to a small difference in price, the supplied oxygen seriously differs from medical oxygen in quality. Some tests showed there were hard admixtures, dust, and small oil parts in the balloons. Moreover, the hospitals paid for the supplied oxygen as much as for medical one, i.e. almost two times more than the real price. The damage has not been estimated yet, though it is already clear that the question is about hundreds of thousands of rubles, which got to somebody’s pocket.
Tax police brought a suit, though so far it is known only, that technical liquid oxygen was supplied to Vologda, to the Metallopttorg firm, in tanks of Kirovo-Chepetsk Fabric. While neither the fabric, nor the Farmatsia firm have a licence for medical oxygen supplement. Then liquid oxygen was turned into gas form, pumped to balloons and sold to the Farmatsia firm. Though between the fabric and the Metallopttorg firm, there were some false firms: thanks to their participation, the oxygen price grew twice.
As for the oxygen quality, ambulance doctor Valentina Zamyatina says, physicians noticed no divergence from norm. Though, according to Valentina Zamyatina, ambulance doctors can observe a patient only within 15 or 20 minutes, so they hardly could speak about possible consequences of the non-proper oxygen use.
While in several regional hospitals, physicians, on the contrary, noticed oxygen was different, and they bought additional filters for its refinement.
According to Viktor Zolotilov, city health department head, oxygen supplied by the Farmatsia firm “corresponds with medical quality norm,” though the suppliers had some troubles with necessary documents. By the moment, medical oxygen is supplied from the city of Balashikha without all necessary certificates.
In the meanwhile, tax inspectors possess a medical conclusion that the non-quality oxygen caused some complications in patients health. And if this is proved, both the Farmatsia leadership and regional health officials will have real troubles. Did the health department know that within five years the patients had been treated with technical oxygen?
There are some rumours, that some medical officials not only knew about “oxygen hunger,” but also earned on it. Whether this is true or not, the investigation will show.
Though a fact says in support of the rumours: some time ago, a regional hospital proposed to buy a special device to gasify liquid oxygen. This device could have helped the hospital to save money and to do without middlemen. Though, the health department did not respond to the letter. The oxygen issue turned out to be the issue of price, of human life price.
Lyudmila Martova Premyer Vologda
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://society.pravda.ru/society/2003/8/81/336/7391_air.html
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