Throngs of parents yesterday waited for hours at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) seeking attention for children suspected of having dengue fever. Lining the corridor and the Paediatric Emergency Department of the hospital with crying and irritable children, were parents who complained bitterly of the slow pace at which healthcare was being administered. Father of three, Eric Martin of Red Hill, Morvant, expressed outrage at the length of time he had to wait for treatment for his one-year-old son Derrick Martin, who suffered a high fever and had been crying uncontrollably since Friday. Believing that his son was a dengue case, Martin went to the hospital around 10 am but up to 2 pm, he claimed, no doctor had seen his son.
Lying in the lap of her mother, eight-year-old Fiola Pinto, of Blanchisseuse itched. Covered in a discoloured rash, a symptom of dengue fever, Fiola's mother Earla Pinto said her patience was running thin since she had been waiting over two hours to be attended to. A source at the hospital said staff had to split an adult ward on Friday to accommodate the growing number of children suspected of having dengue. The source said by yesterday, the makeshift ward was filled to capacity with nurses from other public hospitals being called out to handle the influx of children showing up for medical attention. Some nurses at the paediatric hospital who were scheduled to go off duty at 3 pm, left the hospital after 10 pm on Friday because of the volume of patients.
Meanwhile, clinical director at the EWMSC of the Accident and Emergency Department Dr Helmer Hilwig admitted that five suspected adult patients were treated yesterday, while three were treated on Friday. For the week, Hilwig said roughly 15 patients were treated, with one male being admitted on Friday for observation. "For the time being it's very manageable," Hilwig said. He urged patients suspected of having dengue to have their blood count checked. Hilwig said between July and August cases started coming in. By September, October and November cases would increase to 30 to 40 per day, with figures declining in December.