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June 16, 2019

Elderly man with heatstroke symptoms dies at Civil Hospital


June 16, 2019

A 65-year-old man reportedly died of heatstroke on Saturday during treatment at the Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) while six others, including a woman, recovered from the illness as they received first aid at the hospital after mercury soared to 40 degrees Celsius in Karachi due to the influence of Very Severe Tropical Cyclone Vayu that has halted sea breeze in the city.

“As many as seven patients, including a woman, were brought to the CHK with symptoms of heatstroke, of whom an elderly person, who could not be identified, died despite all the efforts of the hospital staff. Symptoms indicated that the deceased had heatstroke and he was in shock when brought to the hospital,” said Dr Khadim Hussain, the CHK medical superintendent (MS), as he spoke with The News.

Dr Hussain said soon after the issuance of a heatwave advisory by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), they had established a fully equipped ward at the hospital to deal with patients of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. As many as seven people with symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion were brought to the hospital, of whom one died within a few minutes after his arrival, the MS added.

“The elderly patient who appeared to be around 65 to 70 years old was brought to the heatstroke ward with symptoms similar to those of heatstroke. Doctors and paramedics on duty provided him first aid but he could not survive. The identity of the deceased could not be established,” Dr Hussain said, adding that the female patient brought to the hospital was also in a critical state but she survived.

Another CHK official, Dr Ismail Memon, said people suffering from heat exhaustion were being brought to private clinics and hospitals for the last couple of days due to the prevailing hot and humid weather. A large number of such people were labourers and those who worked outside in the sunlight, he added.

However, no other tertiary-care hospital in the city, including the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and Abbassi Shaheed Hospital, confirmed that they received any serious heatstroke patients on Saturday. Some people were brought to these facilities with symptoms of exhaustion, dizziness and dehydration who were given first aid and discharged.

Hot weather today

Residents of Karachi sweltered on Saturday as the maximum temperature was recorded at 40 degrees Celsius under the influence of a very severe cyclonic storm in the Arabian Sea.

PMD officials have warned of another very hot and humid day on Sunday (today) with the highest temperature expected to remain between 38 and 40 degrees Celsius.

“We are expecting another hot and humid day under the influence of southerly winds that would increase the humidity in the city on Sunday. The hot and humid conditions are likely to ease on Sunday evening with the resumption of sea breeze but weather would be very uncomfortable on Sunday noon and afternoon,” said PMD Chief Meteorological Officer Sardar Sarfraz.

He said the cyclone Vayu in the eastern Arabian Sea had remained practically stationary with a slight westward drift and it lay centered at a distance of about 475 kilometres from Karachi. The maximum sustained surface winds are 120 to130 km/hour gusting to 145 km/hour around the system’s centre.

“Tropical Cyclone Vayu is likely to move in westerly direction during the next 18 to 24 hours and then re-curve towards the north-east and start weakening. Under the influence of this system, dust storm and thundershowers are expected in Thatta district. The sea breeze is likely to remain cut-off on Sunday and heatwave would persist in lower Sindh including Karachi,” Sarfraz said.

The PMD officer said fishermen had been advised not to venture out in the open sea before Monday morning as the sea was likely to be very rough.

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