Navy field hospitals in Saudi Arabia are using oxygen machines the Army says are defective, according to a report published Tuesday. The Navy and the machine's Columbus manufacturer say the Army is wrong.
At issue is a machine called the Medox system, designed for use during chemical or biological warfare. The Army says the system failed half the routine tests run on it and would be useless in the kind of attack for which it was designed.Among problems the Army examiners found were overheated oxygen cylinders that posed a risk of explosion and hydrocarbon contamination of the oxygen, which could damage a patient's lungs.
Col. Frank Kovach, chief of logistics for the Army surgeon general, said Navy officials brought Medox to Saudi Arabia despite the Army's warnings of possible trouble.
"The Navy has a right to its decision," Kovach said. "I do not agree with what they have done. My position is that it's a risk and I'm not willing to take that risk."