Following the Daily Mirror’s repeated extensive coverage, quoting health officials who have warned that the country is heading towards a medical tsunami from a Delta wave, two major hospitals yesterday declared emergency due to an overflow of COVID-19 infected patients.
The Ratnapura General Hospital and Karapitiya Teaching Hospital yesterday declared emergency, which had rarely been done in the Sri Lanka’s medical history, due to the sudden increase of COVID patients.
Karapitiya Teaching Hospital Acting Director Dr. Shelton Perera by letter had warned his hospital staff of the possible dangers of contracting the virus from the patients and had informed the doctors and sectional heads that he had declared an emergency situation in the hospital.
An official at the hospital said three wards allocated for COVID-19 patients were filled to their capacity and yesterday alone 140 infected individuals were admitted to the hospital. Dr. Perera had instructed the medical staff to give priority to the patients who had developed serious complications caused by the virus and to make arrangements with the Medical Officers of Health of the respective areas to provide treatment to others who were not suffering from respiratory disorders and other complications in their respective homes, until accommodation was available in the treatment centres.
The Ratnapura General Hospital Director, Dr. M.D.A. Rodrigo also declared an emergency following an urgent COVID-19 meeting held in the hospital yesterday. In a letter, he said the staff members of the hospital had been notified of this and they had been urged to strictly abide by the health guidelines.
When queried about the measure taken, Deputy Director-general of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath told Daily Mirror that it was normal for a hospital to declare an emergency situation considering the due factors.
“When there is a situation of this nature which is called Mass Casualty Incidents, we have trained our hospitals as to how they should tackle the crisis,” he said.
“At a time of a bomb blast or a massive accident, there could be admissions and casualties at unprecedented numbers within a short period of time. To face such incidents, we have done drills and simulations,” he pointed out. Dr. Herath said all the hospitals were prepared to face such situations as done by the Ratnapura Hospital.
“Accordingly, they will be taking all the necessary measures to execute their plans and expand the capacity. This hospital is also doing the same,” he added. The Daily Mirror on Wednesday, after speaking to Doctors who were in the forefront of the pandemic, reported that Sri Lanka was heading towards its worst medical disaster in the coming weeks from a possible spread of the Delta variant.
“Hospitals in the Western Province are filled to the maximum and Oxygen is soon expected to run out. People have been urged to get vaccinated, wear tight-fitting masks, avoid gathering inside closed spaces, avoid leaving their homes unnecessarily and maintain all other health guidelines,” it is reported.
When questioned as to what more measures could be taken to avoid a disaster, Doctors said Sri Lanka had to face what lied ahead now since the Delta was already here.
-When there is a situation of this nature which is called Mass Casualty Incidents, we have trained our hospitals as to how they should tackle the crisis.(SHEAIN FERNANDOPULLE, SIRANGIKA LOKUKARAVITA, D.G.SUGATHAPALA AND AJITHLAL SHANTHAUDAYA)