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SMC Chaos After Rush of Patients

A 24-hour surge of 50 people critically injured in accidents swamped emergency teams at Salmaniya Medical Complex.

It meant bumping other patients off the operations schedule, an official admitted yesterday.

However, no life threatening situations were ignored, said Health Ministry hospital affairs assistant under-secretary Dr Ameen Al Sa’ati.

‘There were more than 50 people who needed urgent critical care from 7am last Wednesday to 7am last Thursday, and we were overwhelmed as a result,’ he told the GDN.

‘These people were critically injured from road accidents, falls, work mishaps and needed urgent attention.

‘As a result of this situation, some of the elective surgeries had to be put off.’ Dr Al Sa’ati admitted that some of the postponed surgeries were major operations, but claims that were not life-threatening situations.

‘There is talk that life-threatening situations were ignored. That is not true,’ he said.

‘Our priority is to save lives and that is what we have done. None of the surgeries that were postponed fall into a life-threatening category.’ Dr Al Sa’ati said the trauma cases were not the result of an increase in road accidents.

‘The numbers of road accidents were the usual. However, other trauma cases were high. We do not know why there were so many cases, but we have dealt with them,’ he said.

Over the last few days, many of the postponed surgeries have been re-scheduled, said Dr Al Sa’ati.

During the sudden surge in admissions, the hospital’s maternity unit was still trying to deal with a surge of patients coming for childbirth.

‘We are constantly referring them to the Jidhafs Maternity Hospital as well as to the facility in Muharraq,’ said Dr Al Sa’ati.

‘While the is facing an overload, the facilities at Jidhafs and Muharraq are being underused,’ he said.

Dr Al Sa’ati said that the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department has also been overwhelmed with patients, with between 900 and 1,000 being seen every day for the last week.

‘This has led to people waiting to be accommodated in wards because the numbers of people leaving are less than those coming in,’ he said.

Dr Al Sa’ati said there were now no ‘waiting lists’ because all those requiring admission were being admitted immediately and cared for at the Accident and Emergency Department before being sent to wards as space became available.

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