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COVID patient dies after breathing tube detaches, staff fails to notice in time

Ichilov hospital investigating, but blames heavy workload amid Israel’s third pandemic wave, says it will divert more staff to coronavirus wards

Moshe Harazi (via Facebook)
File: A medical worker in the coronavirus unit at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv on July 28, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

A 47-year-old coronavirus patient being treated at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital died Friday night after the breathing tube for his ventilator detached, and medical teams failed to notice for several minutes.

The hospital attributed the death of Moshe Harazi to the heavy workload for staff as Israel’s experiences the worst wave of COVID-19 yet, with record numbers of cases and seriously ill patients.

“This is an excellent department that treats coronavirus patients in critical condition,” the hospital said in a statement. “An initial inquiry has shown that…the breathing tube became detached, but due to the many concurrent emergency alerts at the intensive care unit, the team, busy with emergency alerts in other patients, [noticed] it only after a few minutes.”

Harazi then deteriorated and doctors were unable to save him.

“We’re experiencing a heavy burden that is challenging the staff. Hospital management has opened an investigation into the abnormal incident and will reach the appropriate conclusions.”

The hospital said it had already decided to further reinforce teams at coronavirus wards by scaling down other, less urgent operations.

It expressed its condolences to Harazi’s family.

“We’re demanding answers,” his widow Tali told the Ynet news site. She said the family had heard about the staff’s error from the media, and only then from hospital officials. She said a hospital official told her “it’s under investigation and after the shiva [week-long mourning period] they’ll update us.”

According to the latest Health Ministry figures Saturday, Israel currently has 82,551 active coronavirus cases, of which 1,082 people are in serious condition. The country’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 3,943.

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