In Los Angeles and Beyond, Oxygen Is the Latest COVID Bottleneck

In Los Angeles and Beyond, Oxygen Is the Latest COVID Bottleneck

As Los Angeles hospitals give record numbers of COVID patients oxygen, the systems and equipment needed to deliver the life-sustaining gas are faltering. “It’s been nuts, absolutely nuts,” said Esteban Trejo, general manager of Syoxsa, an industrial and medical gas distributor based in El Paso. When a hospital draws more and more liquid oxygen from those tanks, the super-cold liquid can seep further into the vaporizing coils where liquid oxygen turns to gas. But that puts additional strain on the hospitals’ cylinder oxygen supply, as well as the medical gas supplier, Karcher said. They thought something was broken, but when engineers took a look, Christensen said, it became clear the system was just not able to provide the amount of high-flow oxygen patients needed.

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