ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) finally got accessories of the newly-provided ventilators after which overall 26 ventilators have become functional for the treatment of coronavirus patients at the hospital.

As many as 24 ventilators have been placed in the isolation ward for adults and two in the paediatrics isolation ward. During the last week, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr Zafar Mirza visited Pims twice and assured its management that he would play his role to get ventilators for the hospital.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had recently provided 12 ventilators to Pims but they could not be made functional as some of their accessories were missing. As a result, only 14 ventilators already available in the hospital were functional.

On Monday morning, Maryam Aurangzeb, spokesperson for Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), criticised the government and said over 2,400 people had tested positive in the capital but there were only 12 ventilators for them at Pims, the largest hospital of the city.

24 machines placed in isolation ward for adults and two for children

“There is an isolation ward of 80 beds in the hospital in which four vents have been shifted from Surgical ICU, three from Cardio ICU and two from Medical ICU. Moreover, there are only four ventilators in Polyclinic which is the second largest hospital of the federal capital,” she said.

Ms Aurangzeb said there were only 90 beds for the coronavirus patients across the city due to which relatives of the critical patients had to run from pillar to post to get their patients admitted.

She asked where all ventilators had gone and how many of them were given to the hospitals of the federal capital.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan, who also holds the portfolio of the federal health minister, has been combating the Covid-19 through press conferences, presentations, computers and statements. It is unfortunate that there are no arrangements for the treatment of patients and both Pims and Polyclinic are being run through acting heads,” she said.

A senior doctor of Pims, requesting not to be quoted, said the NDMA on Monday provided some of the accessories and assured the hospital that the remaining would be arranged on Tuesday (today).

“NDMA had provided overall 12 ventilators but there were only five monitors with them. On Monday, the remaining monitors were provided and we have been informed by the NDMA that 40 syringe pumps used for controlling the quantity of medicine will be provided on Tuesday. We have also got assurance that 50 high flow level cannula used for increasing the level of oxygen will also be received soon.

“Moreover, 12 continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, which are used for improving breathing, will also be provided to us,” he said.When contacted, a spokesman for the NDMA said all the ventilators at Pims were functional.

“The accessories demanded by the hospital were not part of the ventilators so they were not included in the procurement list. However, all accessories are being arranged and will be provided to the hospital,” he said.

PPE for healthcare workers

A deputy director of Pims, Dr Saifur Rehman, has written a letter to the hospital management demanding provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to all the healthcare workers.

He said good quality PPE (face shields, gloves, goggles and glasses, gowns, head covers, surgical masks, N95 respirators and shoe covers) should be provided to all healthcare personnel in hospital.

“Scores of healthcare workers at Pims have tested positive for Covid-19 and one of them has sacrificed his life. All of them were working in non-Covid-19 wards. During a pandemic, healthcare personnel are especially valuable and vulnerable too. They must be protected by utilising all resources to avoid a worst situation,” Dr Rehman stated.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2020