Two coronavirus patients hospitalized outside Moscow have died following an oxygen outage in at least the fourth such incident in recent months, regional health officials confirmed to Russian media Wednesday.
A malfunction is believed to have caused the oxygen supply interruption at the coronavirus wing of the hospital in the western Moscow region district of Odintsovo, emergency crews told state media.
The two patients' deaths were a result of their severe illness and were not caused by the oxygen outage, the Moscow region health ministry said.
Sixteen patients were on ventilators at the intensive care unit at the time of the early-morning outage, the ministry told Interfax.
The Baza Telegram news channel had previously reported, citing unnamed emergency sources, that the 15-minute outage directly caused two deaths — that of 47-year-old Alexander Naumenko and 78-year-old Stanislav Olshansky.
In the wake of the scandals, the federal health watchdog asked all 85 Russian regions to report any medical oxygen shortages in their hospitals. The watchdog announced an inspection into Tuesday’s deaths.
The latest incident follows the deaths of dozens of patients in two Russian cities linked to oxygen equipment breakdowns late last year.
Weeks prior to that, an oxygen line explosion at Moscow’s main coronavirus treatment center did not cause deaths or injuries because it was still under construction at the time.