MANILA, Philippines – Some hospitals in Quezon City have begun preparing for a possible surge in the number of firecracker victims as New Year's Eve approaches, although there are fewer cases so far compared to the same period in previous years.
At the East Avenue Medical Center, equipment and medicines for treating firecracker injuries such as anti-tetanus shots have been readied.
As in previous years, an area at the emergency room exclusively for treating people with firecracker-related injuries will be set up, said Dr. Emmanuel Bueno, the hospital's chief of staff for special concerns.
"Iniisip natin na puwedeng dumagsa ang mga pasyente," he said. "Handa naman po tayo doon."
The Quezon City General Hospital also has a trauma area for firecracker victims, according to Dr. Mark Ruste.
"Doctors are here 24 hours on standby in the ER, and we're just anticipating whatever comes," he said. "The nurses are also equipped for whatever procedures will be needed."
Both hospitals have not treated any major injury so far, and there are fewer cases than in past years.
At East Avenue, 13 victims have been treated since December 20 up to Friday. There are only 2 at the Quezon City General Hospital so far.
Officials said the numbers are encouraging, but that they won't be complacent.
"Too early to say," Bueno said. "Baka mamaya, pagdating ng Bagong Taon mismo, dadagsa naman."
Bueno said the hospital will be on code white alert on New Year's Eve. This means all doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel will be on duty.
Marikina, Manila hospitals
Personnel at the Amang Rodriguez Medical Center (ARMC) in Marikina City are also prepared for the expected influx of firecracker victims come New Year's Day.
Medical equipment have been sterilized and a separate ward has been assigned for firecracker-related cases.
The hospital has also ordered trays and trays of eggs to administer to patients, often children, who might ingest firecrackers.
Since December 21, ARMC already handled 5 firecracker- related injuries. They are hoping that numbers will be lower this year.
All Marikina hospitals are also on code white and all personnel are expected to be on call or on duty as required. Doctors and nurses said they are now used to spending New Year at work.
At the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, 21 cases of firework-related injuries have been reported since December 14.
Dr. Carlito Padilla of the ER department assures that they are ready for the influx of firecracker-related injuries. -- With reports from Pinky Webb and Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News