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‘You can be anyone off the street’: Urgent action to fix medical gas installer laws

There’s a call for urgent action to avoid another medical gas mix-up, which lead to the death of one baby and the permanent brain damage of another at a Sydney hospital four years ago. 

In 2016 at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital nitrous oxide was confused for oxygen and administered to two newborns. John Ghanem died, and Amelia Khan was left with lifelong brain damage after the mix-up.

NSW Labor MLC Mark Buttigeig told Deborah Knight there’s no requirement in NSW to have a qualification, training, or a licence to install medical gas.

“You don’t even have to be a plumber, you can just be anyone off the street.

“Under the current laws in NSW, you can be baking bread one day and installing medical gas pipes the next.

“That’s the sort of deregulated environment that’s led to this tragedy.”

Despite the government committing to amend existing regulations to make it compulsory for installers to be licensed, Mr Buttigeig wants to see urgent action and worries this pathway will take too long and get “watered down”.

He says the legislation he introduced to parliament last week is “ready to go” and fills the gap in the current system.

“All they have to do is pass it next week.”

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Image: Getty