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Hospitals can manage surging demand for medical oxygen by communicating demand forecasting with their supplier, increasing delivery windows and more

Winter is here. Temperatures have dropped. COVID-19 is surging in many parts of the US. All the more reason to continue to communicate with your bulk oxygen supplier and perform daily checks on your bulk system.

Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, bulk medical oxygen demand has increased to levels three to eight times above baseline at some hospitals. Even though bulk medical gas supply and storage systems are designed with a safety margin to handle demand surges, the elevated pandemic-related levels are taxing hospitals’ bulk medical storage systems. For example, winter conditions and increased demand can cause ambient air vaporizers to accumulate excessive frost, reducing performance. Vaporizers convert liquid oxygen into a gas for hospital use. As demand increases, the vaporizer freezes moisture from the air and can become ineffective and may interrupt the availability of this critical medical gas product.

While Messer is taking a number of proactive actions to mitigate supply risk, each hospital can take certain measures to further manage the increases in demand of this critical medical gas product.

What can and should hospitals do to help manage increased oxygen demand?

Messer asks its hospital customers to do the following to further assist in managing their medical oxygen demand.

  1. Advise Messer of expected increases in demand so we can proactively respond.
  2. Visually inspect the vaporizers daily and report units that become heavily (>50%) iced. If you are unsure, send us a picture and we can review and advise. An extra “set of eyes” on the bulk equipment always helps! https://www.messer-us.com/current-customers
  3. Report any drops in line pressure OR reserve-in-use alarms you receive.
  4. Provide 24/7 access for our trailers to deliver bulk product, to maximize delivery flexibility.
  5. Contact us if there are any other issues you experience with your Bulk Medical Storage System. Communication is key!

Note: If you do not currently have telemetry, consider adding telemetry to your monitoring capability by making a request to Messer.

Here’s what to look for when visually inspecting vaporizers:

What does heavy icing look like? Here’s a visual guide. Remember to notify us if you see heavy icing.

Normal icing

Normal icing

Moderate icing – Watch
Moderate icing – Watch

>50% heavy icing – Report
heavy icing – Report

For more information or to learn more about Messer's healthcare team, click here. If you have concerns about your vaporizer, call Messer Customer Service at 1-800-755-9277.

In case of emergency, call Messer’s Emergency Response Team: 1-800-232-4726.

Get Your Checklist Today: 4 Steps to Protect Your Hospital’s Supply of Medical Oxygen


Messer makes no warranty of any kind with respect to the subject matter, the completeness, or accuracy of this blog. Messer is not responsible for any actions (or lack thereof) taken as a result of relying on or in any way using information contained in this blog. In no event shall Messer be liable for any damages resulting from reliance on or use of information in this blog. Readers should take advice from a qualified professional when dealing with specific situations. Descriptions of, or references or access to, other publications within this blog do not imply endorsement of those publications. This blog may contain technical inaccuracies and changes to the information may be made at any time.

Gas products are hazardous. The use or misuse of gas products involves serious risks, including injury, disability and death. Users of gas products must use the Safety Data Sheets for the gas products to warn their employees and others who are exposed to the gas products or hazards associated with such products.

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