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Cancellaton of surgeries averted
The South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) has averted the indefinite shutdown of all operating theatres at the San Fernando General Hospital by procuring an urgent supply of an essential drug. However, SWRHA CEO Anil Gosine, in an interview with the T&T Guardian, said if a regular supply is not obtained by next week, all hospital theatres may face closure.
The drug is Neostigmine, a muscle relaxant which is used by anaesthesiologists to prepare patients for surgery. Gosine said: “We had to procure the drug outside of the contractual arrangement with Nipdec C40. It is not a guaranteed supply. The main thing is the continuation of the surgeries. I am unable to say how much we have now, but by next week if we do not get a supply we may have to go into emergency mode.”
He said the San Fernando hospital, like all regional health facilities, has been hit by a severe shortage. Gosine said yesterday’s supply of the much-needed drug ensured that elective surgeries at the San Fernando hospital continued uninterrupted and SWRHA was trying to source more supplies of the drug externally.
“We have got some today (yesterday) but not large quantities, hence the reason why we are being cautious by having the drug available for emergency surgeries,” he said. On Thursday, acting Medical Director Dr Pravinde Ramoutar highlighted the shortage of the critical drug in a memo he sent to all surgeons ordering operating theatres closed, with the exception of the emergency theatre, until the drug is obtained by the hospital.
Ramoutar’s memo said, “Due to the severe shortage of Neostigmine, we are forced to go on emergency mode in theatres effective Friday 25th, January 2013 (yesterday) until a supply is provided. “As such, all theatres with the exception of the emergency theatre will be closed until further notice.”
Gosine said the memo had since been amended. He explained that the drug shortage stemmed from a shortage from Nipdec C40, which is contracted to provide pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceuticals to the RHAs. “I must emphasise it is not the fault of the SWRHA,” he said. He said the situation was further strained because on average, 36 surgeries are performed at the hospital.
Gosine said some surgery will be done at the hospital. “We have emergency surgeries that are continuing, for example in obstetrics and if required via trauma,” he said. Gosine said the Chief Medical Officer has been liaising with Nipdec C40 to have the supply of the drug regularised.
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