Chaotic situation amid shortage of ventilators in Punjab

Updated May 28 2020

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Lady doctor fails to arrange ventilator for her uncle. — APP/File
Lady doctor fails to arrange ventilator for her uncle. — APP/File

FAISALABAD: The state-run hospitals of Faisalabad are facing an acute shortage of ventilators so much so that a lady doctor and her colleagues had recently failed to arrange a ventilator for her uncle.

The district government officials claim that ample ventilators are available but doctors allege that the officials are portraying a false picture.

Sources told Dawn that an uncle of a lady doctor had been brought to the Allied Hospital with symptoms of coronavirus. His condition deteriorated and the doctors recommended a ventilator for him, however, no ventilator was available at the health facility. The doctor requested her colleagues to arrange a ventilator for her uncle and they all tried their level best but could not get it as the officials said not a single ventilator was free at the hospital. They eventually managed a ventilator at the DHQ hospital but it was too late as the patient passed away while being shifted from Allied to the DHQ hospital.

Doctors said Faisalabad hospitals lacked ventilators as the number of patients was on the rise. They said that during Eid days they had received dozens of patients with symptoms of coronavirus.

Lady doctor fails to arrange ventilator for her uncle

They said even the General Hospital Ghulam Muhammad Abad which had been dedicated for the treatment of the coronavirus patients lacked the ventilators.

Young Doctors Association Faisalabad chapter secretary Dr Adnan Shakir told Dawn that the local hospitals had been facing an acute shortage of ventilators. He said not a single ventilator had been given to the state-run hospitals during the pandemic. He said the uncle of the lady doctor recently passed away as all ventilators were occupied in the DHQ, Allied and the General Hospital Ghulam Muhammad Abad.

Currently, he said, sixteen ventilators are available at the Allied Hospital for adults and all are occupied. Five out of six are occupied in the DHQ and all (six) ventilators at the General Hospital are being used for the Covid-19 patients. He said only five ventilators had been earmarked for the Covid-19 patients at the Allied Hospital which is the biggest hospital of Faisalabad division.

“It’s a blessing of God that we have not received any child patient having symptoms of coronavirus,” said Dr Shakir who added that the ventilators meant for children were being used by adults.

The chief executive officer of the Faisalabad Health Authority denies the situation and says he has dispatched a letter to the Punjab government in which he has mentioned that 32 ventilators are available in three government hospitals. He says the Allied Hospital has 20 ventilators and five are in use of the Covid-19 patients.

He says 15 ventilators are in backup. He says six ventilators are available in the DHQ hospital with one in backup. Similarly, he says, five out of six ventilators are occupied by patients at the General Hospital.

As private clinics and hospitals remained closed due to Eid holidays, he said, the burden of patients increased on the public hospitals.

A government official told Dawn that the letter forwarded by the CEO health authority carried the factual information. He said hopefully we would get new ventilators from the government.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2020