THERE was something of a crisis at the Port Moresby General Hospital early last Friday night.
The weekend had arrived – not to mention the onset of the usual Friday night procession of smashes, clashes and crashes – and Dr Sam Yockopua, the hospital’s chief of emergency medicine and 18-year public health veteran – was alarmed.
So alarmed, in fact, that he took to Facebook with a public appeal for help.
“SOS call for kind donations,” he wrote. “As at 6:35pm, after supervision of the pm shift work, at POM Gen Emergency Department; we have none of the following….”
And there followed a rendition of some of the most basic hospital necessities including face masks, gloves (“last box left!” wrote Dr Yockopua), alcohol swabs, urine bags, cervical collars, plasters, bandages, nebulizer cups, glucostrips, ECG/defib gel, ECG dots, 16. phenytoin iv, crepe bandages – and there was more.
“Friday night chaos is anticipated,” Dr Yockomua continued, “and we know we are not ready and will not give our best. We do, however, have solid manpower.
“Inbox me or simply drop by at PMGH ED and offer anything you can. Help save lives. God bless you.”
This is more dire than "praise the lord and pass the ammunition". It’s more like “go to the medicine drawer and bring me what you’ve got”.
Facebook reader Sally Proctor commented on Dr Yockomua’s cry for help: “The national referral hospital shouldn't have to rely on donations. This is unacceptable. Where is the health minister and his secretary?”
Good sentiments and a pertinent question.
And corruption fighting lawyer Sam Koim, who drew my attention to this dreadful predicament, commented simply, “Frightening!”
It’s an outrage. You can only hope that such total dereliction of duty by the responsible politicians and bureaucrats led to no avoidable deaths.
But, whatever the outcome in human lives, it must have resulted in a desperately turbulent and trying weekend at PMGH emergency for staff and their patients.