Can you believe that the newly multi-millions Ringgit renovated Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) has serious shortage of oxygen supply that the SGH administrator have to ration the supply even to those critically ill patients ?
Low oxygen flow may hampered the recovery of critically ill patients and let's just hope that there will be no fatality as a result of this problem.
Sarawak has been facing problem on shortage of doctors, shortage of beds (read overcrowding) and now shortage of oxygen supply. When will all these nonsense end ?
The engineer firms (involve in oxygen supply) and the building consultants (involved in renovation design) must be penalized for their flawed and defective works.
Extract from BorneoPost:
Oxygen thin at SGH’s East Wing: PKR
By Jacob Achoi
KUCHING: The state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has urged the federal government, particularly the Ministry of Health, to act swiftly to resolve the problem of shortage of oxygen in the newly renovated Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).
According to the party, it had been reliably informed that the engineering consultant firm overseeing the multimillion-ringgit renovation of the SGH tower block, had admitted to the hospital’s administrator during a briefing early this month that the hospital must limit the use of oxygen for patients in the newly renovated East Wing of the tower block, even for patients who are critically ill.
PKR state legal advisor See Chee How, at a press conference yesterday, stressed that the engineering consultant firm had previously insisted the oxygen supply in the East Wing was adequate despite repeated complaints of low oxygen pressure made by SGH staff.
According to See, SGH is the main tertiary hospital for Sarawak, providing sub-specialty surgery and medical referral services for 2.7 million Sarawakians.
“However, the new wing has been plagued with controversies. There has been a severe shortage of beds since renovation began, prompting complaints from the public.
“The bed shortage arose because half of the main tower block has been emptied while work proceeds on the remaining wing,” See told reporters.
Now, he said, the firm had told doctors that patients’ oxygen must be rationed strictly in wards in the renovated East Wing because the oxygen supply installed was inadequate for the current daily use by the patients.
He explained that all floors in the East Wing had oxygen access points in the walls supplied by pipes from a central oxygen source - a standard practice in all large hospitals worldwide.
According to hospital staff, he pointed out, the wall oxygen supply in both the old East and West Wings were adequate before renovation.
See also said that PKR was told that doctors and nurses had reported the oxygen supply shortage to the consultant firm on several occasions since the new Easy Wing began operation.
According to the staff, he said, SGH staff from various wards had complained that recovery of critically ill patients may be hampered by low oxygen flow. Doctors and nursing staff were forced to use oxygen from portable tanks.
Before this, the consultant firm had insisted that the oxygen supply was adequate, but later blamed leakage at wall oxygen points as cause of shortage.
The connectors were then replaced - using hospital funds, but the problem persisted.
There are eight levels in the East Wing, each warding up to 45 patients. During periods of heavy oxygen use, more than a dozen patients in each ward would be connected. These patients include several unconscious or critically ill patients in some wards, who rely on high-flow oxygen pumped into their lungs by mechanical ventilators, to stay alive.
It is standard medical practice that patients on breathing machines should be in the SGH Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
At SGH, many patients are placed on ventilator machines in the wards in the East Wing because the ICU has only nine beds.
See said that considering the city population, there should be 40 ICU beds in the hospital, based on international standards.
See showed the press a list of wards in the East Wing, reportedly given to SGH by the consultant firm, with corresponding restrictions of oxygen use on each level. “According to this list, the majority of levels have now been allocated a maximum of 70-98 litres per minute.”
See argued that since one patient on high-flow oxygen uses 10-15 litres per minute, while patients on ventilator machines need even higher oxygen flow, 15-20 litres per minute, it follows that only 5 to 10 patients per level can be treated with high-flow oxygen, at the most.
“This is clearly inadequate for each level, which has up to 40-45 patients, of whom 10-20 may require high flow oxygen at any given time,” he explained.
See also referred to a press conference last month that revealed extensive fungal infestation found in the newly renovated East Wing, posing risks to patients warded there.
The Aspergillus fungus was found in cultures taken by SGH staff from ceilings and wards in the East Wing.
Aspergillus can cause lethal infections, especially in weakened or debilitated patients.
Startling photographs, of ceilings and walls in the wards covered by dark patches of mould, were published in local newspapers.
See pointed out that the director-general of the Ministry of Health, Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican, visited the SGH on May 30, followed by the Minister of Health Datuk Liow Tiong Lai the following day.
“They toured the wards in the East Wing and both were aware of the fungal infestation, but why has the fungal risk not been resolved, and why has there been no report made public on the fungal infestation?” he asked.
According to him, when the RM500 million Pandan Specialist Hospital (Hospital Sultan Ismail) in Johor was found to be infested with Aspergilllus fungus in 2004, the Ministry of Health refused to accept the building and closed down the hospital two months after it opened.
“Does the Ministry of Health feel Sarawakians deserve any less,” he asked.
He stressed that any shortcomings in the renovation work must be fully investigated to prevent loss of lives and the risk from the fungus and the continuing oxygen problems.
“There must be urgent solutions found to the existing problems. We must prevent further mistakes. Health care is an issue of national interest. The people of Sarawak, and the entire country, deserve an independent and transparent audit, with no cover-up. If wrongdoing is uncovered, those responsible should be prosecuted,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, at the press conference yesterday, See also said that the public who want a CD on the public debate between Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek and PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can buy them from PKR office at Third Mile.
With See at the conference were PKR Stampin division secretary Loo Chao Min and publicity secretary William Lee.
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Sunday, July 20, 2008
Labels: Health and Medical Issue