MULTAN: Over 122 cases of pneumonia have been reported from the district hospital in Vehari in the past two days.
Doctors at the hospital have said that the hospital has experienced an unprecedented influx of pneumonia cases during the past two days and are struggling to cope with the numbers. Vehari Hospital Children’s wing in-charge Dr Muhammad Afzal said “It is astonishing. The patients keep pouring in and we don’t have enough beds in the wards to treat them.” Dr Afzal said that one of the major reasons behind the rising number of pneumonia cases was the lack of rain in the region.
A nurse at the hospital, Majida said that the dry cold had caused severe respiratory problems in the district. “Most of the patients have been from flood affected families. This is because they still don’t have enough warm clothes and blankets,” she said.
Hospital sources confirmed that 69 of the admitted children were less than five-years-old. “The situation is getting out of hand and we are trying to refer patients to other hospitals for treatment because we are currently exceeding our capacity,” Dr Afzal said, adding “all of the patients are seriously ill and require treatment but we don’t have enough medicines.”
Vehari hospital officials said that most of the patients were children but some of the pneumonia patients also included adults.
“We are hoping the situation improves because we don’t have the resources to cope with such large numbers but we are doing whatever we can,” said an attending physician at the hospital Dr Javed.
Patients and relatives have complained that the hospital staff has been lax in their duties and that many patients had not yet received any medicine. “Many of us have been waiting for a day to see the doctor,” said four-year-old Agha’s mother Khursheed.
Other patients complained that the staff had turned them away at the hospital door saying they didn’t have any room to seat them.
Dr Afzal said that the hospital had requested additional funds from the district government to replenish their medicine supply.
“I am afraid that more cases are likely to erupt in the area because of the weather and we may have even more pneumonia cases.
If the government doesn’t help us with medicine supply we will have to start turning patients away,” he said. The Vehari district hospital only has the capacity to house 150 patients and with the influx of pneumonia cases, 3-4 patients are currently sharing the same bed. “Our emergency and surgery wards are currently housing pneumonia patients and we don’t know how we will cope with other cases,” said Dr Javed.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2010.
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