Friday, October 22, 2021

Editorial: Health facilities strained

AS OF September 19, 2021, the Department of Health in Davao Region (DOH-Davao) reported that there are already 20,772 active Covid-19 cases in the region. To date, this is the highest number of active cases in the region since the pandemic started in 2020.

Of the active cases in the region, 9728 are from Davao City, 4,699 are from Davao del Sur, 3,379 are from Davao del Norte, 1,107 are from Davao Occidental, 954 are from Davao Oriental, and 905 are from Davao de Oro.

Based on the September 18 data of DOH-Davo, ward and intensive care unit (ICU) beds for Covid-19 patients are already 80 percent full. A total of 684 of the 856 ward beds are currently being used while 189 of the 244 ICU beds are currently being used. For the isolation beds, 514 of the 814 beds are filled.

At the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), the primary Covid-19 referral hospital in Davao City and also the largest in the region, its 103 ICU beds are fully occupied while 513 of its 517 ward beds are occupied.

However, when we talk about hospitals being "fully occupied," we not only have to look into the number of beds. Hospitals could be "fully occupied" because their limited number of resources could only handle a limited number of patients. It could have available beds but it has limited manpower or oxygen supply.

Due to the high volume of patients coming to the hospital, several hospitals in the region have notified the public about limiting patients they can accept.

On September 17, SPMC said its "Emergency department will cater mainly to moderate to critical Covid-19 cases. Non-Covid-19 cases will only be urgent and emergent cases."

The Metro Davao Medical and Research Center Inc. (MDMRCI) announced on September 19 that its "Emergency Department will only cater to emergent and urgent cases."

"We appeal to patients seeking consultation at the emergency department to go to other healthcare institutions to get the immediate care and attention you need, for the time being," MDMRCI Management said.

With the Covid-19 alone, our local hospitals are already being overwhelmed. However, the hospitals are not only catering to Covid-19 patients. We also have to understand that these hospitals are also attending to other medical needs.

As healthcare workers contract the disease and some opting to pursue greener pastures someplace else, there is a shortage of healthcare workers at the hospitals. This shortage could be a factor in how many patients the hospital could accommodate. Hence, fewer persons can be treated, Covid-19 or not.

Hospitals also have to redistribute resources to where it is needed depending on the situation. As a result, there will be some departments where they have to limit the people they accept to allow them to cater to where there are more patients coming in.

The current Covid-19 surge in Davao Region is straining our healthcare facilities and those who work here. Let us not wait for it to collapse before we take action. We can still do something now to help our health facilities. Let's follow our hospitals and health workers by following the minimum health standards and getting vaccinated.


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