Transport of flu patient to DMC done under strict protocol

Jul. 03, 2009

DAVAO CITY — The transport of a four-year old boy positive of AH1N1 influenza from Butuan City to the isolation ward of the Davao Medical Center (DMC) was made with utmost compliance to health protocols.

DMC chief Leopoldo Vega M.D. said the young boy was transferred to Davao because the grandmother wanted her grandchild confined here, rather than in medical centers in Caraga Region and Cagayan de Oro City.

The boy had just come from Hongkong. He was accompanied by his grandmother to visit his parents who are working there.

Vega allayed fears of possible contamination, assuring that the van driver and other medical personnel in the transport, followed strict protocol. Vega said they all wore protective gear and took a straight non-stop route to the DMC.

Also in the isolation ward, aside from the four-year old boy, is his grandmother, a nine-year old girl who had close contact with the boy, and the girl’s parents.

Vega says they will be in the isolation ward for 5-7 days with five to seven swabs taken to confirm negative results. If three consecutive swabbing test negative, then the patients could return to their homes.

Vega said that AH1N1 is not a deadly virus. What makes it exceptional is that the genetic traits of swine, human and bird flu are found in the virus. Its symptoms are the same as ordinary influenza. He said those deaths in Mexico were aggravated by pre-existing ailments like pneumonia and diabetes.

The hospital chief vouched for the integrity of the isolation ward. The ward is detached from the main hospital building, far from the general population. The nurses and medical personnel attending the patients in the ward are equipped with protective gear like masks, goggles, gowns, boots and gloves. These are properly disposed of after use. The personnel also undergo rigorous washing after serving the patients.

Vega also defended allowing the boy’s to be brought to the DMC. He says that the hospital cannot deny any patients who wants to come to be treated, be it a heart patient or one with an influenza virus.

“It is lonely to be quarantined; it is like being under house arrest. You do nothing except stay in the ward,” Vega said to describe the conditions of those confined in the isolation ward. (PIA XI)

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