Code Orange declared

Earlier today, Guelph General Hospital discovered the level in its large onsite oxygen storage tank had become so low the hospital was using its reserve storage tank. An emergency delivery of oxygen was arranged but to be cautious the hospital took extra steps to conserve its oxygen usage and put into place a system to support those patients in the Intensive Care Unit who were ventilated along with the many other patients in the hospital on oxygen support. As required in a situation like this, a Code Orange was called.

In the end, the oxygen delivery did arrive well before all reserves were used. “We will always err on the side of caution when the safety of our patients is at stake,” said Marianne Walker, President and CEO. “Our team did a great job quickly putting plans and personnel in place should we have needed to use extraordinary measures.”

One step taken was the hospital connected its store of large, portable oxygen tanks into the oxygen lines supplying its ICU, which at the time had seven ventilated patients. Not only did that secure the supply to those patients, it slowed down the rate of overall draw of oxygen from outdoor reserve tank. As an extra precaution in case extra hands were needed, staff were brought in or asked to stay once their shift was over. Ambulances were redirected for a couple of hours to ensure there would be no new patients requiring oxygen. Community partners including Guelph EMS and regional hospitals assisted as well.

Walker noted “Something like this hasn’t happened before, but the process went exceptionally well because our staff are trained in emergency response. Once again, I can easily say I’m proud to be a part of such a committed and outstanding team.”

External technicians have been brought in to find out why the main storage tank’s remote alarms didn’t go off as they should when the stored oxygen level was below a certain point. Until resolved, the hospital will have many safety processes in place including manually checking the tank’s level regularly.