[Opinion] Oxygen, Even in a Chair, is Very Fine at This Point Doc!

[Opinion] Oxygen, Even in a Chair, is Very Fine at This Point Doc!

Had I been entertaining any lingering doubts about the ravaging effects of a resurgent COVID-19 in Ghana, that certainly would have completely vanished this week. Fortunately, I was not, which makes it the more surprising how unsettled I was by the various happenings!

With four of my associates frantically calling with desperate stories of their COVID-19 positive relatives in need of hospitalization, the no COVID-19 bed situation truly came home forcefully. An elderly diabetic whose only complaint was a progressive weakness. A patient who had called the hospital in advance on referral but who quickly lost the only available bed to another patient in greater need. A family in panic that just about secured a bed for a mother and wife. And then yesterday, Missy, who was reportedly recording low oxygen saturation levels.

After multiple calls, the phrase – “we seriously don’t have beds, doc” took on new meaning. In one emergency room, I found out that there was a queue of five very ill patients in respiratory distress awaiting transfer to an appropriate ward. In an adjoining space were five other patients receiving oxygen in wheelchairs!

Missy had no option. We waited for over twelve hours at home for a hospital bed with gradually reducing oxygen saturation levels all night through. This morning, she finally got a chair at the emergency room with oxygen, with copious thanks to attending health professionals. And then eventually, she got a bed.

Thankfully, Missy’s oxygen saturation is now great.

What could some of our options be?

Organizers and attendees at upcoming mass gatherings like weddings, parties, funerals, church services, etc. do need to carefully reconsider the real attendant risk of transmission, ill-health, and death. Such events should be cancelled, switched to virtual platforms, or efforts made to drastically reduce numbers using open well-ventilated spaces.

I cannot overemphasize the need for each person to take personal responsibility for strict adherence to basic protocols of face mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand washing. Even if one is accused of overdoing it.

We do need to rapidly expand bed capacity for COVID-19 care. Amidst these crises, quick decisions need to be taken to commandeer and resource additional facilities to complement the current COVID-19 treatment centres. The situation is certainly critical, and rapid decision making is key. If not …

Source: Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey//Facebook

 

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