Covid-19: Patients seeking emergency treatment should not hide health status, says expert


PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The country has been embroiled in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic for more than a year now, but public awareness, positive attitude and good practices to control the spread of the disease are still lacking.

This is evident among those who fail to be upfront about their health status while seeking emergency treatment at hospitals, even though they have been exposed or become close contacts with Covid-19 patients.

This was revealed by Emergency Medicine specialist and Putrajaya Hospital Emergency Medicine Department head Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan who said that this irresponsible action would have adverse effects not only on health workers manning the emergency and trauma department (ETD) but also on other patients.

Dr Khairul Nizam said it was not known why some people behave in such a way, adding that when patients hide their health status, health workers would record them as asymptomatic and have no contact with Covid-19 and they would be sent to be with other patients who are not exposed to the disease.

"This exposes the virus to others, especially the elderly and those who are at risk, all because of their action of hiding the truth. So, can you see the effect of such action?” he told Bernama.

Dr Khairul Nizam said to reduce the risk of infection, the Putrajaya Hospital isolates patients with respiratory problems to prevent cross-infection.

He added that since the hospital operated as a hybrid-Covid-19 hospital in April this year, there had been an increase of between 40% and 60% in admission of patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and Covid-19 positive cases in the hospital’s ETD.

Dr Khairul Nizam said there were also Covid-19 positive cases detected at the hospital that had to be sent to Sungai Buloh Hospital to seek intensive care treatment.

He said the Putrajaya Hospital is experimenting with staggered patient arrival times to ensure non-critical patients would not come at the same time as those who are in critical condition in its efforts to ease congestion at the ETD and lessen the risk of infection.

"This new system is running on a trial period starting this week before being fully implemented later because we feel there is room to control patients from crowding the ETD at staggered times to reduce congestion, ” he said.

Dr Khairul Nizam admitted that the hospital’s staff have been affected emotionally since it began handling Covid-19 cases, however, they managed to discharge their duties well with the cooperation of the Health Ministry (MOH) through its psychological and counselling services that helped them deal with their work stress.

He said this effort is crucial to ensure they are in the best physical, mental and emotional condition to continue fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Khairul Nizam also hoped that people would understand the important role played by healthcare workers and urged them to continue following the standard operating procedures set to curb the spread of the deadly virus such as wearing face masks, washing hands regularly, avoiding crowded places and group activities. - Bernama

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