The Government must reconsider its strategy for managing the public health sector in both staffing and equipment allocations during the covid19 crisis ,said Dr Fuad Khan, MP for Barataria/ San Juan.
In a statement on Monday, Khan said “as severe and as fatal as the covid19 has proven to be,” the Government cannot be complacent over the needs of the other patients who visit public facilities for treatment.
“If this is not done soon, doctors and other medical staff will have to clothe themselves in garbage bags, as they must find a way to protect themselves from contracting any of the diseases they may come into contact with during their duties.”
Khan made the statement after a patient died at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex last week while being treated for atypical pneumonia.
He said, as detailed by the patient’s son in a social media post, the account of the care and treatment given to his mother during her last hours, if true, was appalling and warranted an investigation into the conduct of the staff on duty.
But, he went on, “That being said, while we are all aware of the emphasis that is being placed (on) detecting and treating patients who may have been infected by the covid19, this case raises concerns that other patients and departments may be underserved and understaffed as a result.
He said according to the patient's son's account of a conversation with the doctor who treated his dying mother, "The staff at the Mt Hope facility had neither the manpower nor the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to either properly monitor or resuscitate their patient after she had lost consciousness.”
Khan said this was completely unacceptable, and demonstrates how the Government had mismanaged staff and equipment at public health facilities during what might be the worst health crisis of this generation.
He said people being admitted through A&E departments with flu-like symptoms are being tested and cleared for the virus before testing is done for other diseases.
“What this means is that the diagnosis period is being unnecessarily prolonged due to the constraints CARPHA has placed on the public health system as a result of their own shortcomings, and as such, persons such as these patients are being allowed to die before proper treatment can be administered.
“Yes, the covid19 requires special attention, but this cannot be given all the resources of our already suffocating public health system, lest the death toll of this disease climb even higher than what is being counted officially.”