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No beds on Ward 10... again

By CECILY ASSON Thursday, July 26 2007

click on pic to zoom in
Sick and weary: Patients on Ward 10 at San Fernando General Hospital occupy any available spot as they waited for beds yesterday....
Sick and weary: Patients on Ward 10 at San Fernando General Hospital occupy any available spot as they waited for beds yesterday....

THE problem of overcrowding has once again reared its ugly head at San Fernando General Hosptial (SFGH). Yesterday, scores of patients were forced to occupy every available space at the wards and along corridors, some lying on stretchers or desks, or sitting on hard benches and straight chairs and wheel chairs as they waited several hours for the first available bed. It was a re-run of the overcrowding crisis that hit the wards seven weeks ago. Ward 10 yesterday morning was once more a chaotic sight. Relatives, patients and nurses complained that the line up for beds on Ward 10 began from as early as 8 am on Tuesday.

Vistabella resident Gene Thomas said she accompanied her friend David Brown to the hospital on Tuesday where they waited with scores of other persons for a bed. Brown was diagnosed with hypertension and was admitted to the ward but remained on a stretcher in the middle of the ward up to midday.

On June 11, the hospital experienced a similar overcrowding crisis during which some patients walked with their own beds. The South West Regional Health Authority had adopted remedial measures including turning Ward 7 into a temporary overspill ward and the review of warded patients to determine who could be discharged to free up beds.

Yesterday, nurses said the measures did little to ease the accommodation problems. “It’s back to square one and it is very frustrating for us. Patients everywhere but no beds to lie on — the problem is with us again,” said one nurse. Acting hospital administrator Dr Anand Chattoorgoon yesterday said beds were being sought and the wards were working with a list of priority patients. “We could never have enough beds. Overcrowding will always be with us,” he said.

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