Doctors at main Gauteng hospitals fear they will be overwhelmed by the third wave of Covid-19 and believe urgent and decisive action is needed to support them and the hospitals in which they work. (Photo: Richard Borge / scientificamerican.com / Wikipedia)
Doctors at main Gauteng hospitals fear they will be overwhelmed by the third wave of Covid-19 and believe urgent and decisive action is needed to support them and the hospitals in which they work.
A doctor at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, appearing to be on the verge of collapse, today described the situation at the hospital as “absolute chaos” and “getting worse and worse”. He expressed serious concerns about how the hospital would react if the third wave in Gauteng did not peak for two weeks.
“We all feel hopeless. We do not agree. Pretend it’s not fair to medical staff and nurses, ”he said.
He reported that the pharmacy was now receiving 1,000 more patients per day than usual and that the hospital had to suspend the surgical emergency unit to free up more capacity for Covid-19.
At the Helen Joseph Hospital, a senior doctor said that the facility “is experiencing tremendous difficulty. More than 60 people are waiting for a bed in the emergency room. Our ability to provide oxygen to everyone is maintained but is very strained. “
He added that the “numbers are astronomical – worse than the first two waves, both because Gauteng was hit so hard and because of the WCJAH. [Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital] closing. We have an NGO to erect another temporary tent outside to help provide some extra space and beds – [it] should be operational by Tuesday. It will help a bit.
According to clinicians, Pretoria is still a week or two behind the Gauteng center. But here too the wave is growing.
A doctor who works at Steve Biko University Hospital and Tshwane District Hospital Complex said, “It’s bad. Overwhelmed. Try to open more beds. Try to get more nurses and doctors. He added that “a deep demoralization is setting in among the chief doctors”.
At George Mukhari’s, Dr Nathi Mdladla, chief intensivist, said 87 people are now admitted with Covid: “The number of severe cases has increased exponentially in recent days, so we should have many more in a few days. “
In this disastrous context, many health workers feel betrayed by the provincial health ministry and the prime minister David Makhoura. Calls to reopen Charlotte Maxeke’s 56 intensive care beds, closed since April, have fallen on deaf ears. An online petition to reopen the hospital, initiated by Pr Daynia Ballot, Director of the Wits School of Clinical Medicine, has more than 24,000 signatures. But the hospital remains closed.
Once again, the alternative construction technology hospitals have been found not to be ready as another wave of Covid hits. At Chris Hani Bara only one of the four 125 bed blocks is used and even then the new wards cannot be occupied by very sick patients as the necessary intensive care equipment and specialists are all in the hospital. main, 500 meters.
At George Mukhari, the new rooms remain unoccupied. Kalafong hospital is still mired in a legal dispute.
But what really upsets health workers is hearing officials from the Prime Minister’s Office tell the media that the province is managing. “They are not being honest with the public,” the doctor said.
When asked what should happen, the doctors are not clear. They want recognition of the crisis, a government that shows by action that it is moving to help, a united approach between the public and private health sectors, the reopening of Charlotte Maxeke and a holistic approach to the health system. to answer.
At George Mukhari Hospital in Pretoria, Dr Nathi Mdladla, Chief Intensivist, is now prescribing Ivermectin, authorized for controlled compassionate use by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
Mdladla says, “When patients and healers are disheartened and overwhelmed, the results cannot be good for both. Over the past two weeks, I feel like I have been given hope because my patients have a chance to fight. Most importantly, I feel emboldened to donate a legal product.
Today he told me that “it now makes an impressive difference from morale to results”.
Finally, the doctors we spoke with called for a desperate appeal to the public to realize the seriousness of the third wave in Gauteng and to do everything possible to protect themselves and others from the infection. the latest report from the SA Medical Research Council, covering from May 2020 to June 12, 2021 (i.e. a week ago), shows that there is already a marked increase in excessive deaths in Gauteng; and the total number of excess deaths in the province is approaching the 30,000 mark.
This is a much more precise number reflecting the toll that Covid-19 makes on the Gauteng health system than the official figure of 11,919 deaths reported by the Ministry of Health until June 17, 2021.
“There are no beds if you get seriously ill with Covid. Many people are likely to die because we cannot provide the care they need. ”
Many feel that the latest measures, in particular the minimum restriction on alcohol sales, are not drastic enough. A doctor said he would see this weekend whether the restrictions have an impact on the number of alcohol-related admissions to hospitals. But he doubts it. SM / MC
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This notice was published: 2021-06-18 13:45:21