PESHAWAR: Most visitors to the emergency departments of the provincial capital’s teaching hospitals during Eid days suffered from stomach problems or were injured in road accidents.
Officials told Dawn that more than 32,000 people visited those emergency departments from June 4 to June 7 complaining about abdominal pain, vomiting or fever for overindulging in sweets, fizzy drinks, and food.
They said intravenous fluids were administered to those patients.
Peshawar doctors complain of patients arrival from other districts sans referral
The officials said the people with injuries suffered in road accidents mostly involving motorcycles also visited emergency departments in large numbers.
Rafiullah Marwat, manager of the emergency department at the Lady Reading Hospital, said 15,000 people turned up for treatment during Eid days and 4,000 of them had stomach problems, 1,000 were injured in road accidents, and the rest, including women and children, complained about other issues.
He said mostly youths were injured in motorcycle-related accidents.
The manager said other patients were briefly admitted for emergency management.
He said the visitors belonged to Peshawar and other districts.
The accidents and emergency department of the Khyber Teaching Hospital received 10,406 patients from June 4 to June 7.
Spokesman for KTH Farhad Khan said 559 were hospitalised, while 51 underwent surgery for indigestion and trauma.
Things were no different at the Hayatabad Medical Complex.
However, half of the visitors belonged to other districts, who rushed to Peshawar without visiting native health facilities, which were capable of attending to 95 percent of such cases.
The doctors complained about the arrival of patients without referral at Peshawar hospitals, which, they said, were required to provide tertiary care to the highly complicated and chronically-ill people from other districts only.
LRH executive director Dr Hamid Shehzad said the people overindulged in food soon after the end of the fasting month of Ramazan when the stomach became used to less intake.
He said overindulgence during Eid festival caused diarrhoea, dysentery and other stomach problems.
Dr Hamid said the health policy enforced by the government promised the strengthening of emergency healthcare system at the district level to ensure provision of services on the people’s doorstep and lessen patient load on the city’s hospitals.
He said the policy had also developed a mechanism for the referral of only serious patients from other districts to Peshawar hospitals.
“Ours (LRH) is the only public sector hospital, which has been recognised by the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan for training in emergency treatment. We have begun training for specialisation in emergency health,” he said.
The ED said there was no chance of error during the handling of emergency.
“We have been conducting courses for 250 emergency care providers, who are well prepared to cope with critical patients,” he said.
Dr Hamid said the arrival of patients in the hospital without referral by their native health facilities was an issue, which could be resolved through improvement of trauma care at the district level. He added that efforts had been started by the health department for the purpose.
“Better emergency management can reduce mortality rate,” he said.
The ED, who is part of an advisory body on the enforcement of the provincial health policy, said the government was striving to ensure the best possible emergency treatment in the province.