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Chickenpox patient dies because of non-availability of ventilator

Chickenpox patient dies because of non-availability of ventilator

FAISALABAD: Seventeen-year-old Maleeha Bibi, a resident of Sargodha, suffering from chickenpox, died at the Allied Hospital on Sunday night allegedly because of non-availability of a ventilator.

Though the hospital handles hundreds of patients daily, it has only 17 ventilators, out of which only seven are being used in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

According to sources, Maleeha was brought to the hospital on April 29 and was being treated at its Isolation Ward. After her condition deteriorated, the doctors at the ward sent a call to the ICU for the ventilator, they said. In response to the call, a doctor from the ICU visited the ward and told his colleagues there that all ventilators available at the unit were occupied.

During the month of March, at least 16 people died of chickenpox out of more than 100 who were brought to the hospital with the disease.

Deputy Commissioner Salman Ghani told Dawn that the government would be soon requested to provide 50 ventilators for the hospital immediately.

He said provincial Minister for Health Khwaja Salman Rafiq had convened a meeting to look into the issues being faced by the hospital.

The Allied Hospital is visited by patients from different cities, including Faisalabad, Chiniot, Bhakkar, Sargodha, Mianwali, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh for treatment of different ailments.

Some doctors of the hospital requesting anonymity said they had been treating the patients efficiently but it was the government’s responsibility to provide ventilators.

They said a couple of days ago, another patient of chickenpox died as ventilator was not available for him and he was given oxygen through the ambu bag.

Punjab Medical College Principal Dr Fareed Zafar, who is also the chief executive officer of the Allied Hospital, said Maleeha was brought to the hospital in a critical condition with various diseases, including chickenpox.

Admitting the hospital was short of ventilators, he said: “We have been trying to get 40 ventilators for the hospital.” Seven of the total 17 ventilators were being used at the ICU, one for infectious diseases and the remaining at the Children’s Ward,” he added.

He said local philanthropists had also been contacted in this regard and some of them had promised funds for procurement of ventilators for the hospital.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2017

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