Alarming surge in Covid cases forces Civil Hospital Karachi to shut OPDs, cancel surgeries

Published July 27, 2021
This file photo shows the entrance to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi. — Photo by Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
This file photo shows the entrance to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi. — Photo by Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Amid growing number of Covid-19 cases mainly in the city, the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi on Monday halted all its key functions, shut outpatient departments (OPDs) and suspended surgeries till further orders, as a doctors’ body warned that the highly transmissible Delta variant accounted for almost 100 per cent of the cases in the city.

The two developments came as a grim reminder of the fast changing situation in the city where the infection rate had already crossed 23pc mark during the last week.

The Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (Pima) has advised people to follow the defined guidelines and ensure implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in their lives warning that their defiance could lead to disastrous consequences.

Sindh govt to discuss plan to expand medical facilities in the metropolis for Covid patients today

“The fourth wave in Karachi has turned dangerously serious,” said Pima president Dr Abdullah Muttaqi in a statement. “The testing being conducted for suspected Covid-19 patients shows that almost 100pc cases are of highly transmissible Delta variant. It spreads so fast and within no time infects whole family of one infected person. The hospitals in Karachi have now been filled to their capacity.”

Call to get vaccinated

Dr Muttaqi also mentioned members of his fraternity and their families who were falling prey to the fourth wave of the pandemic appealing to the people to take care of themselves and their loved ones and get vaccinated at the earliest.

“In such scenario, vaccine is one beacon of hope which everyone should get done at the earliest,” he said. “The hospitals can no more sustain the pressure and that’s why they have suspended their regular operations including surgeries and treatment of patients at OPDs. We need to realise that everyone has to play his or her role while following SOPs, avoiding gathering and staying at home for the safety of ourselves and our loved ones.”

On Monday evening the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) announced suspension of its key operations including OPDs and elective surgeries leaving thousands of regular patients in a quandary as the fate of their ongoing treatment at the largest public sector health facility in the province hangs in the balance.

“As per directives of ministry of health, and due to increased numbers of Covid-19 positive among our doctors, paramedical and nursing staff the following OPDs and elective surgeries of surgical/orthopaedic are suspended with immediate effect till further orders,” said an internal memo of the hospital which mentioned that eye, ear-nose-throat (ENT), surgical, orthopaedic, skin and dental OPDs would remain suspended.

Move to expand treatment facilities

Sources in the provincial health department said the Covid-19 units set up at various hospitals of the city were largely running full to their capacity and that a meeting to be chaired by the chief minister on Tuesday (today) had been scheduled to look into extending Covid-19 facilities for patients across the city.

“The alarming surge in Covid cases forces CHK to shut OPDs, cancel surgeries the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre with its recent addition of a 70-bedded unit, have already increased their capacity for Covid-19 patients, the government plans to further extend these facilities,” said a health department official.

In this respect, he pointed out, the health department had contacted the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (Sessi) under the labour department to set up Covid-19 units at its three major healthcare facilities — the Kulsoom Bai Valika Hospital in the SITE area, Kidney Centre and Sessi Hospital, both located in Landhi.

“They will be operational soon. The Police Hospital under the home department will also have a Covid-19 unit,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2021

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