Cover Story

Saving lives with Medical Gases

Incorrectly installed medical gas systems that fail to comply with local and international standards could result in loss of lives and that is where the utmost importance of correct installation of medical gas systems in healthcare facilities come to the fore. MediWorld ME has met with Aras
Group of Companies – one of the leaders involved in the design, supply, supervision, installation, testing & commissioning of as well as training in medical gas systems.

What is a medical gas?
A medical gas can be defined as any gaseous substance that meets medical purity standards and has application in a medical environment such as oxygen, nitrous oxide, nitrogen, medical air, surgical air and carbon dioxide. As an example, oxygen and respiratory therapy gases help patients breathe. But, there is more to tackle in the application of medical gases in a complex health environment.
In the past, the US media reported about two women who died during diagnostic procedures because of a medical gas cross connection – the patients received lethal doses of nitrous oxide instead of oxygen. In Australia, a baby boy died and a newborn girl suffered brain damage at a hospital just because they were also administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen even though the medical gas systems may have been installed by well-reputed or qualified technicians.

The tragedies took place due to lack of training or inspection by qualified third parties, which may sometimes be neglected. However, such tragedies are likely to happen at any healthcare facility in any country but incidents like these that may result in loss of lives can actually be prevented.

Design & installation of gas systems
Being an innovative company backed by a highly experienced medical gas systems team, Aras Group of Companies continues to offer best-in-class medical gas system education and services. The group’s services include Design, Supply, Supervision, Installation, Testing & Commissioning, Operation & Maintenance of medical gas systems and turning the products over to their clients with warranty. Also handling operation, maintenance and training in medical gas systems, the group has been serving the medical gas needs of many healthcare facilities throughout the UAE, the United States and India for over three decades.

MediWorld ME has recently met with Mr K C Babu, CEO of the group to find out more about the services they offer
with regards to the group’s expertise in medical gas systems. Mr Babu’s team has successfully completed many government and private sector projects in medical gas engineering systems, air and vacuum plant, laboratory gas engineering systems along with the supply of complete range of biomedical equipment from Europe, UK and the USA.
“Established back in 1976, we used to focus on the supply of oxygen, which has many applications across a variety of sectors. In time, we shifted our focus to the medical sector and added other main types of medical gases such as  elium, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, etc. to our portfolio. Naturally, we provide the services of design, installation and maintenance of these medical gas systems in healthcare facilities,” Mr Babu explained who is specialized in industrial LNG (Liquid Natural Gas), medical & laboratory gas engineering with 41 years of experience in oil & gas projects, hospitals, universities and QC laboratories.
“Precision is a key word in medical gases,” the CEO remarked. “We need to be very careful with the selection of the brand and quality of the medical equipment because the patient’s life is at risk. The precise air flow measurement, purity levels of the gases, required air pressure in that specific situation, volume remaining in the cylinders, and possible contamination in the pipelines, etc are all major concerns for those handling medical gas systems in a healthcare facility. Thus, all these variables should be under our control.”
There are different standards in different parts of the world when it comes to medical gas systems. The USA follows its own standards as Europe dictates it own rules. In the Middle East, there is no single set of s t a n d a rd s a n d Mr B a b u u n d e r l i n e d t h a t t h e manufacturers of the medical gas systems and other related equipment such as compressors have not taken the hot and humid climate of the region into consideration.
“When I talk to the experts in the USA, UK or other parts of Europe, they find it hard to believe that temperatures
here can reach above 50 degrees in the height of summer. The equipment are generally suitable for use in the
climates of their own respective countries and may not function as desired in the extreme climatic conditions
here considering the heat, dust and moisture in the air.”

Issue of contamination
Talking on the importance of selecting the right personnel to handle the installation of medical gas systems in healthcare facilities, the CEO explained how careful they need to be with the wellbeing as well as medical history of their employees. “When someone applies for a resident visa in any country, he or she is required to take a medical test to prove that he or she is free from communicable diseases. This is for the welfare of everyone in that place. How
about the employee who is handling the pipes and installing them at a hospital for patients that are most vulnerable to all types of infections? For example, if the technician is suffering from flu at that time, the disease can easily be transported to the patients via the pipelines. In my investigation and experience in the field throughout the years, there is no set standard to check the wellbeing of the technicians and this has to be tackled on a priority basis.”
Carbon monoxide deposits and impurities in the pipelines could also be counted as other types of c o n t ami n a t i o n i n me d i c a l g a s s y s t ems . T h i s contamination can easily lead to infections with patients who are actually in the hospital for treatment and not to be infected with another disease.

“In addition, proper installation of pipes throughout the healthcare facility is of utmost importance. There is no
tolerance for any amount leakage at any joint and the whole piping system should be regularly checked by trained personnel for any signs of leakage. Any possible leakage is not only a health concern for all the people in that facility but also a danger to the health of the patient,” Mr Babu added.
Best of training courses
Aras Group of Companies is also into medical gas training, which is in great demand in the UAE and beyond. To be able to provide the best of training courses right here in the UAE, a long-lasting partnership with a UK-based company, Eastwood Park, has been established. Thus, Aras Eastwood Park was set up as a gas safety training company delivering specialist medical gas training. This formally marked the partnership that has been developed over several years,combining the skills and knowledge of two world leading experts, both well-established and highly regarded within medical equipment supply and education and training, imparting quality engineers
training courses.

New medical gas training courses are being delivered in Dubai, UAE, at the company’s extensively equipped medical gas training facility, developed by medical gas portfolio manager and trainer Michael Ell. The full portfolio of healthcare support services training:

  • Decontamination & Infection Control
  • Dental Equipment
  • Medical Gases
  • Medical Equipment
  • Lift Safety & Servicing
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Steam
  • Water Hygiene
  • Fire Safety
  • Health & Safety
  • Electrical
  • Estates & Facilities Management

In the UK, Eastwood Park Training is the leading technical training provider for healthcare engineering, d e c o n t a m i n a t i o n a n d e s t a t e s a n d f a c i l i t i e s management. Among its large and varied training portfolio are medical gas courses to suit a variety of healthcare roles that come into contact with medical gases: Competent and Authorized Persons, Quality Controllers, Nurses, Porters and Designated Nursing Officers. These courses include a mix of theory and practical elements applicable to specific roles. “We offer the best of technical training in our facilities here as safety is of utmost importance especially with different types of gases found in a healthcare facility.
Starting with the design, layout and installation of gas pipes, we teach how to safely handle and administer
various types of medical gases. This includes even the handling and transportation of gas cylinders as they are
highly pressurised and any mishandling of the cylinders may lead to undesirable consequences,” Mr Babu said.

Sound project management

To cater to the growing needs of the market, The company operates other divisions although the medical engineering division is the core of their business with a sound project management infrastructure. With over three decades of experience, Aras Medical Devices & Equipments Co LLC offers a complete engineering solution for Medical/Laboratory Gas Engineering Pipeline System (MGPS/LGPS) in the UAE and beyond. According to the CEO, approved by the UAE Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health & Ministry of Public Works, ARAS Medical Devices and Equipments Co is an ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485: 2003 registered company supplying Central Piped Medical & Laboratory Gas Systems adhering to NFPA, HTM, EN, BCGA, other local and international standards.
And finally, the Industrial Engineering Division supplies with industrial products like vacuum pumps and
systems, compressors, compressed air products, gear motors, frequency converters, electronic sensors,
proximity switches, pneumatic systems, pneumatic valves, solenoid valves and controls, compressor
replacement parts, vacuum pumps and blowers. The division is also the exclusive agents for Stenhoj
compressors (Denmark) Worthington compressors (Belgium), GSR Ventiltechnik GmbH (Germany) for
process control valves, Walker Filtration Ltd. (UK) for compressed air filtration products.