Contagion: Patients, families wary of delay in medical reports

Suggest results, health analysis should be posted online for ease

Imran Adnan March 31, 2020

LAHORE: Several suspected patients of coronavirus (Covid-19) and their attendants have said that though medical and healthcare arrangements in public hospitals across the provincial capital are satisfactory, the government should instruct the doctors and hospitals to keep the patients and their families updated about their medical condition and test reports.

A patient in the isolation ward of the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) said, “I am in this hospital for the past 12-13 days. Medical treatment facilities are good. The hospital has provided disposable masks to all patients.”

He said doctors were regularly monitoring his vitals. “Hospital staff provides us with food which our families left outside the isolation wards. We only have one complaint that doctors are not informing us about our test reports and health condition.”

Responding to a question, he highlighted that earlier his test reports came after four days but now over a week has passed and there was no clue to his medical report. “I have no clue when I will get reports of subsequent tests. The government should direct doctors and hospital management to keep patients and their families informed about their test reports and health condition since everyone is worried about their loved ones in the current situation.”

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The elder brother of a female patient admitted to Mayo Hospital, Sohail Ahmad, complained that his sister had tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday and shifted to the hospital. Doctors also conducted coronavirus tests of all the family members and cleared them after they tested negative. Though her health condition is stable and she has no symptoms of coronavirus except for some breathing issues, doctors are not allowing the family to see her.

“We are really worried about her health since we have to face great difficulty in delivering food for her. First, we have to convince police that we are going to deliver food for our patients in the hospital, then we have to plead with the hospital staff to deliver the food boxes to our sister.”

He also highlighted that neither the hospital nor the government was providing any information about patients’ health and test reports, which was worrying for families watching the deteriorating situation on television screens.

A female patient admitted in Mayo Hospital complained that she has been waiting for her test report for the past 10 days. “I have been asking the doctors and the paramedics about my reports for the past many days but nobody is paying attention,” she said.

“The government should make some arrangements for posting test reports and heath conditions of coronavirus patients online. It will help reduce the agony of the patients and their families,” she maintained.

Several other patients also expressed similar remarks and complaints. A few of them claimed that they were medically fit but still hospitalised for 12 or 13 days.

A physician at Jinnah Hospital, Dr Iftikhar Ahmad acknowledged patients’ agony and highlighted that the reports are being delayed because of the large number of tests.

The official data of 181 confirmed patients and suspected ones quarantined in hospitals indicated that contrary to the rest of the world the most vulnerable group in Pakistan is people ranging between 21 and 30 years of age as slightly over 41% of patients admitted in hospitals belonged to this age group.

It highlights that the second most vulnerable segment was people ranging from 31 to 40 years of age. This segment accounts for around 21% of the total patients admitted in hospitals across the metropolis. It showed that over 11% patients fall in the age bracket of 11-20 years, 9% in 41-50 years, 6.6% 51-60 years, 5.5% 61-70 years, 2.7% 71-80 years, 1.6% 1-10 years and 0.5% of people hospitalised in Lahore are above 90 years of age. The latest data released at the national Covid-19 dashboard highlighted that the country had a total 1,650 cases on Monday evening. It indicated that the country has 97% (1,600) active cases, while 1.1% (18) citizens have lost the battle with coronavirus. So far 32 patients have recovered across the country which accounts for 1.9% of total infected cases.

It shows that Punjab has the highest number of 618 patients, including 607 active cases. The province has reported nine deaths and five recoveries. Official statistics show that Lahore has 116, Gujrat 55, Gujranwala 11, Jhelum 28, Rawalpindi 30, Multan 2, Faisalabad 9, Mandi Bahauddin 4, Narowal 1, Rahim Yar Khan and Vehari, Mianwali, Nankana Sahib and Sargodha two each, Attock, Bahawalnagar, Khushab and Bahawalpur one each and Dera Ghazi Khan 5.

It also highlights that the government has quarantined a total of 318 pilgrims in Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Lahore and Faisalabad. The data also indicated that besides Pakistani nationals, the government has also put under mandatory quarantine or isolation 15 Chinese nationals in different hotels and hospitals in the provincial capital. Most of them landed in Lahore during the first week of March, the data shows.

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Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Punjab Major (retd) Azam Suleman Khan has directed that in order to contain the spread of coronavirus, participants of Tableeghi congregations be stopped in the districts where they are present and screening of all of them including foreigners be conducted. Speaking at a meeting, the chief secretary said that the decision to carry out screening of Tableeghi Jamaat members has been taken to stem the spread of the pandemic, adding that those who would be tested positive for coronavirus would be placed in quarantine.

The meeting was informed that personal protection equipment (PPE) has been sent for hospitals in all districts. The protective gear include 38,500 surgical masks, 5,750 N-95 masks, 14,600 gowns, 36,500 gloves and 12,900 goggles.

The meeting deliberated on a proposal to promote students from class one to eight without examination on the basis of their summer vacation homework. It was decided that online classes would be arranged for subjects of 9th and 10th class and for mathematics and science up to class eight. These lectures would also be aired on cable TV.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2020.


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