Lung Center, PGH plead for more health workers amid COVID-19 surge

Davinci Maru and Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2021 10:31 AM | Updated as of Mar 25 2021 11:39 AM

MANILA - Two major Philippine public hospitals have asked the Department of Health to augment their workforce amid the rising number of COVID-19 patients in their facilities. 

The Lung Center of the Philippines and the Philippine General Hospital have seen increasing admissions of patients with coronavirus in recent weeks as infections rose, especially in Metro Manila. 

"We have requested at least 30 more nurses from the DOH since last week but it's not easy to get those manpower. I could imagine all hospitals are trying to get more manpower," LCP spokesperson Dr. Norberto Francisco told ANC.

“Pagod na nga rin talaga, humihingi kami at umaasa na magkaroon kami ng reinforcement. Naririnig namin na baka magbigay ang DOH malaking tulong po 'pag makakuha kami ng reinforcement na mga 30 to 40 doctors sa aming COVID operations,” said PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario.

(They are really tired and we're asking and hoping to get reinforcement. We heard that the DOH will provide and this would be a big help to us to get reinforcement of about 30 to 40 doctors for our COVID operations.) 

LUNG CENTER

The Lung Center of the Philippines is a designated COVID-19 referral hospital in Quezon City. It has a 200-bed capacity, of which 55 percent are dedicated to patients battling the new coronavirus.

"We're trying to cope as much as we can. During the worst months last year, we reached up to 160 beds [for COVID-19 patients], which translates to 75 percent of the hospital capacity," he said.

While under strain from rising coronavirus infections, Francisco said their medical staff, especially doctors, were sufficient to man all the wards.

"They're busy the whole day because 1 doctor would have to make rounds for 81 beds," he said.

Since last year, the hospital has tallied 205 coronavirus infections among its personnel. Currently, it has 17 active cases.

"Our personnel in the COVID wards are fully protected. They have 2 or 3 layers of personal protective equipment and all the moves are calculated there," Francisco said.

"They know how to handle things very well but once they are out of the COVID wing or ward and they become lax, that's the time they get infected."

Despite a spike in coronavirus cases, Francisco said they were not asking for a timeout, or the enforcement of a stricter quarantine to better contain the virus spread.

"We're not asking for a timeout but we're asking for understanding from the public that if they go to Lung Center uncoordinated or if they walk in, they risk waiting in the ambulance or in the parking lot because even the emergency room is full," he said.

Francisco also assured the public they were now better in treating COVID-19 patients.

"We know a little better now. We know that when we give medications earlier at the proper time then we have more chances of survival," he said.

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PGH

Meanwhile, at the PGH, 25 additional patients have been admitted to the hospital as of Wednesday, said Del Rosario. They are now close to 190 patients out of the 225 beds allocated for COVID-19.

With the augmentation, Del Rosario said they would be able to open more rooms for COVID-19 patients. He said even their emergency room has been converted into COVID wards/ICU because many patients are waiting to be admitted.

“'Pag nag-open ng rooms kailangan po lalagyan 'yan ng tamang taong bilang. Doon po ang nakikita naming limitasyon dahil kagaya nang sinasabi ko sa inyo meron kaming health care workers na nagkakasakit o kaya naka-quarantine dahil na-expose sila,” Del Rosario said.

(When we open rooms, we need to assign the right number of people there. There’s a limitation there because like I've been telling you we have health care workers who are sick or have been exposed to the virus.)

Hospital workers who are sick of got exposed to COVID-19 are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. He said the limited number of health care workers could cripple the hospital’s operations.

The PGH, he said, resorted to reshuffling, closing or reducing some of their wards so they could reassign nurses to COVID operations.

“Internal ginagawa namin 'yung adjustment pero malaking bagay po kung makakuha kami ng augmentation from DOH,” he said.

(We’ve made internal adjustments but it would be helpful if we could get augmentation from DOH.)

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