close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
December 16, 2019

Shortage of ventilators claims more lives than seasonal ailments every year

Islamabad

December 16, 2019

Islamabad : The acute shortage of ventilator supported beds at public sector hospitals in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi claims more lives than any other seasonal ailment in a year but nothing significant has ever been done to provide the facility to poor patients that costs around Rs70,000 to Rs100,000 per day at private healthcare facilities in this region of the country.

Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences that has the biggest critical care setup in the region has a total of 52 beds with ventilator support for both the child and adult patients along with 12 incubators for neonates, new-born babies.

The PIMS hospital has 10 ventilator supported beds in Medical Intensive Care Unit, 11 at Surgical ICU, three at Cardiac Surgery ICU, six at Burn ICU, 10 at Paediatric ICU and 12 at Neonatal ICU along with 12 incubators in Paeds department.

Data of patients requiring ventilator supported beds at public sector hospitals in 2018 shows that around 15-20 per cent of critical patients are lucky enough to get a bed in a government hospital’s ICUs but more than 75 per cent patients have to take their patients to private hospitals that are very expensive, said Intensive Care Physician at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Dr. Muhammad Haroon while talking to ‘The News’.

He added the average rate of a private hospital’s ICU bed is around Rs70,000 to Rs100,000 per day and it is observed that most of the families getting facility of ICU at private setups have to sale out all their assets for treatment of their loved ones. Ventilator is a machine that is used to provide breathing support mechanically to patients who are unable to breathe normally or incapable of breathing sufficiently, in most of the cases due to malfunctioning of lungs.

It is important that every year, well over 300 patients expired in the twin cities due to unavailability of ventilator supported beds and these are the patients who were already admitted in wards and whose call was sent to intensive care units for want of ventilators but they expired due to no vacancy in ICUs.

According to experts, the actual number of deaths due to unavailability of ventilator is quite high and a number of patients losing lives because of shortage of ventilators remain undocumented.

Dr. Haroon said the PIMS has the biggest critical care setup in the twin cities with dedicated teams assigned to each ICU and all ICUs are equipped with invasive hemodynamic monitoring but almost all ventilator supported beds remain occupied throughout the year and particularly in winter months.

As an outbreak of respiratory tract infections has already hit population in the region, almost all ICUs are filled with patients, he said. Polyclinic hospital and CDA hospital also have ICUs but demand is much higher. He said a major reason behind heavy burden of patients at PIMS ICUs is the referrals from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, AJK and Northern Punjab. A huge number of patients arrive from peripheral areas referred from basic health units, tehsil headquarters hospitals and district headquarters hospitals operating in other districts in Punjab, KPK and AJK, he said.