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Emergency, trauma and healthcare

April 10, 2013

SINCE all political parties are claiming to have the best manifesto to run the country in coming years, I would like to draw their attention towards an ongoing healthcare scenario in the country, especially in Karachi.

People are getting killed not only in the streets but also during shuttling between one hospital to another. The concept of having an effective emergency department in every hospital and primary care units is not known to most of us.

According to International Association of Healthcare Security and Safety, every hospital and primary healthcare unit should be capable of providing initial treatment for a broad spectrum of acute illnesses and injuries to every patient.

The patient should have direct access to medical care without any prior appointment in a life-threatening situation and should not be referred or transferred to other settings unless he/she is in stable conditions (blood loss is prevented and respiration is restored).

In developed countries, hospitals are graded on the basis of the efficiency of their emergency medical services and trauma centres. They do not register any hospital or healthcare unit unless it has well-equipped and standardised emergency department with highly skilled staff.

I have witnessed several cases in which a hospital refused to take the emergency case either due to lack of staff and technology or due to lack of responsibility of saving a life.

Recently a principal of a local school died of heavy blood loss while being transferred from one hospital to the other. First, finding a transport or an ambulance becomes a daunting task in such situations and to top it the nearest hospital refuses to take the patient is like assuring the death of the patient.

I request the authorities concerned to take strict actions against all those hospitals which do no observe standard regulations regarding their emergency departments and whose emergency department is not capable of handling burns, gunshot and shrapnel injures due to explosives, etc.

Since targeted killings and bomb blasts have become a daily affair in the city, all the hospital settings should be bound by law to deal with emergency cases regardless of any discrimination.

All hospitals should be visited by the authorities concerned and their registration should be renewed on the basis of their efficiency to treat emergency and accidental trauma.