The National Institute of Medical Emergency reported that there was a “high turnout in the emergency room” of hospitals in the region at the time when the elderly who died in Torres Vedras after hours of waiting for hospital admission waited in an ambulance.
“The high attendance to hospital emergency services was observed in all hospitals, namely in other hospitals in the region, with the Center for Orientation of Urgent Patients [CODU] transmitted this same information to firefighters “, clarified the institute (INEM) in response to the Lusa agency.
Asked about the case and about possible measures to reinforce the response in hospital emergencies, the Ministry of Health refused to make statements, alleging that there was a process of investigations at the Centro Hospitalar do Oeste (CHO) and forwarding other clarifications to the Regional Health Administration of Lisbon. and Tagus Valley (ARSLVT).
In turn, ARSLVT “did not want to comment”, referring clarifications to CHO.
According to INEM, the 87-year-old victim’s request for help was received at 09:16 on Tuesday by CODU, which, after evaluating the “transmitted signs and symptoms” by phone, mobilized an Mafra fire brigade ambulance.
After assisting the patient on the spot, in the municipality of Mafra, and assessing his health status, it was decided to send him in the ambulance to the Torres Vedras do CHO unit.
The patient was “already admitted to cardiopulmonary arrest”, at the covid-19 emergency, at 12:20 pm, “time of the last contact” between CODU and the ambulance crew of the Mafra corporation.
The Mafra Volunteer Firefighters refused to provide Lusa with clarification on the case.
The municipality of Mafra, in the district of Lisbon, is about half an hour from the hospital of Torres Vedras, in the same district.
In the clarifications sent, INEM acknowledged that the three-hour delay was “a waiting time above the desirable time for the user to be admitted” in the urgency of Torres Vedras and pointed out the “high turnout for the service” as justification.
Questioned also by Lusa, CHO admitted that in the last few days “there has been a high influx of patients to the Dedicated Area for Respiratory Patients [da urgência] of the Torres Vedras unit, which has caused some constraints regarding the waiting time for assistance “.
The CHO has an ongoing “fact-finding process”.
Several media outlets reported that, on Tuesday, a man died in the ambulance while waiting to enter the covid emergency at the Torres Vedras hospital, which was then full.
The CHO clarified that “the news that reports that the user died in the ambulance and that he was around nine hours of waiting does not correspond to the reality”, without, however, giving further explanations of the case.
The administrator of the hospital center, Elsa Baião, confirmed to Lusa that CHO informed CODU of this overcrowding.
For the past few days, for that reason, ambulances have been crowding and being held at the hospital door until patients are admitted to the emergency room.
Despite this, the patient in question was not referred to another nearby hospital emergency.
On Wednesday, several tents were set up by Civil Protection next to the hospital to “free up spaces in the interior” that, in turn, will be used to “rehome service areas converted into covid internment”, without increasing the number of beds, said the administrator.
The tents will also be used to collect samples for diagnostic tests on covid-19, treatments for patients infected with the new coronavirus and a waiting room for external consultation.
The Centro Hospitalar do Oeste integrates the hospitals of Caldas da Rainha, Torres Vedras and Peniche, having an area of influence constituted by the populations of the municipalities of Caldas da Rainha, Óbidos, Peniche, Bombarral, Torres Vedras, Cadaval and Lourinhã, and part of Alcobaça and Mafra municipalities. These counties are divided between the districts of Lisbon and Leiria.
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