Marina’s Emergencies Department Overstretched

| May 26, 2015

Princes Marina Hospital’s (PMH) overstretched accidents and emergencies department (AampE) is a concern not only to patients and their families, but to the healthcare givers as well.

The principal medical officer at Marina’s AampE Dr Lebogang Mokotedi said in an interview that the delays experienced by patients at the facility were mainly the result of the shortage of critical care resources and the growing demand for emergency care.

“We operate with an average of two doctors per shift per day and a complement of three to five nurses in a unit made up of a small resuscitation room with a capacity for only 19 patients at a time,” she pointed out.

Another problem, she said, emanated from patients’ expectations to be served on a first-come-first-served basis, which is not the case because the hospital uses a triage system which prioritises patients according to the severity of their conditions.

She added that vital signs such as the pulse rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature, were important for determining which patient deserved an urgent attention, and when that happened, patients deemed to be less critical felt ignored and delayed.

“On average, the department handles about 2000 patients per month, with most of them being on referral from other hospitals, regional clinics, and private practitioners others just walk in on their own,” Dr Mokotedi said, adding that in 2013 alone, they handled 27 000 patients, which translated into more than 2000 patients per month.

Yet another problem that the AampE department faced, she explained, was the fact that some of the patients visiting the facility were not real emergency cases.

Ideally, an emergency department should be seeing patients who cannot receive medical attention they need from other medical facilities or those who require specialized tests and care, said the medic.

“It is important that cases presenting are real emergencies because non-emergency cases tend to wait for long, given the limited numbers of doctors and nurses at the department,” she aised.

By definition, a hospital emergency department (ED), formally known in Botswana as accident amp emergency (AampE), is a medical facility focusing on the treatment of patients who come without prior appointment, often by ambulance or on their own.

The department, which mostly operates 24 hours a day, provides initial treatment for a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and thus requiring immediate attention.

According Dr Mokotedi, a majority of patients visiting Marina’s AampE were trauma cases from alcohol related fights, road traffic accidents, accidents occurring from home, sporting events, or even at work.

However, she said recently they had observed that cases of stab wounds and assaults were on the increase, adding that they also saw patients of various ailments such as HIV related illnesses, TB, asthma, heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes complications, among others.

Pundits view the facility as where fast decisions on matters of life and death are critical because an emergency room plays a vital role in patient care and survival and that indeed the demand for emergency room care is great.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Medical/Health Care

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