June 25, 2021

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Bleak environment for health worker | PRESENT

Health professionals – ranging from doctors, nurses to radiological technologists, among others – fear that the increase in cases of Covid-19 will cause a collapse in the deteriorated health system of the Island, and claim the Department of Health to be clear in the dissemination of data on first responders that are part of the contagion statistics.

The management of the pandemic on the Island has revealed countless challenges in the health system, which affects capacity emergency response and highlights the need for a strengthened infrastructure. Challenges include the inability of hospitals to retain health personnel and survive financially with fewer patients, laboratories facing reagent limitations to process diagnostic tests, and administrative failures in government to purchase materials.

The President of the College of Nursing Professionals, Ana Cristina García, indicated that materials are being limited in hospitals.

"They are giving her a mask per day and it is assumed that the mask will be every time the patient is handled or is necessary . The robes I think give you three or four robes for a week. So I wonder what happened to the money they gave the hospitals? The nurses are the first responders in this country, they do not give them the equipment and there were also layoffs, but they (the hospitals) have not recruited them again, "he said.

Another aspect that worries him is that the nurses do not usually supply according to the schedule arrangements made by some hospital institutions. "Right now the work is going to be very large, the nurses will be working long hours and doubling shifts because there are not enough personnel in the hospitals," said García.

Gaps in the data

En Puerto Rico there are about 37,000 male and female nurses between the public and private sectors, but the school does not officially know how many could be infected. "I am concerned that there is a collapse and that the nurses cannot cover that need, or what may happen at any given time in this country," he added.

The latest data obtained by the nursing school are 47 infected nurses with the virus, but they correspond to the period from March to May. García insisted that Health is not effective communicating that information to the school.

They raise a banner by quota

Meanwhile, the president of the College of Surgeons, Víctor Ramos, said he is concerned about space Available in hospital systems to care for patients. “They are admitting between 20 to 40 patients a day and the patients who are admitted to Covid-19 because they last three or four weeks in the hospital. By adding between 20 to 40 patients a day – and the others are not discharged – this creates pressure on the hospital system, more so on patients who come with other conditions. This will continue to rise in the coming weeks because the effects of the closings will not be seen until later, "he said.

He established that the lack of materials for health personnel for now" is not a major problem, " although yes eventually. “I am concerned about the increase in cases and that we do not have the capacity of hospitals to handle it. If that happens, other decisions will have to be made, "Ramos said.

He also recognized that the health system can collapse, as it has happened in other parts of the world. "But … we don't know when that is going to be. People have to cooperate and maintain controls at airports, "added the doctor, who estimates that 48 doctors have already contracted the virus.

On the other hand, Enrique López Valentín, from the Federation of Radiological Technologists, confirmed that they have not received Some kind of incentive during the pandemic and he was concerned about the rise in cases.

“What we are concerned about is that there is adequate protection in all places to protect ourselves and our families, because we are exposed day by day with the patients, "he said.

At press time, Salud was handling a petition from EL VOCERO about the complaint from nurses, which was joined by the Federation of Technologists in Diagnostic Imaging and Treatment of Port Rico.

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