By Dr Kristoffa Ninkama (The National 31May10)
I REFER to the letter “Lack of medical equipment fatal” by Andrew Pini (The National, May 26).
Papua New Guineans are dying like flies from preventable and lifestyle
This is the result of our government’s negligence to promote primary healthcare and failure to provide medical equipment, drugs and support facilities such as CT scans, pathology services, laboratories, etc.
In the case of the late Kundi Pok, it appears he died from a heart attack.
Let me give readers a perspective of a hospital’s approach to treating a heart attack victim.
When patients with heart attacks are seen in the emergency department, one of two things can happen. The patient either dies or survives.
Prompt effort is made to secure the airways, hook the patient to a
defibrillator machine and immediately protect the heart with oxygen, lots of pain killers, optimise blood pressure, drugs to dissolve any existing blood clots and to prevent new blood clots formation, drugs to protect the heart and support its activity by reducing its work load to the bare minimum without compromising it.
Simultaneous events include bedside radiology and blood to analyse the general body chemistry is carried out and any discrepancies are corrected promptly.
This is the most critical phase of any patient with heart attack.
After the patient is completely stabilised, the next phase is to arrange transportation of the patient to a tertiary centre equipped with cardiac catheterisation for the purpose of a special test called angiography to determine which heart blood vessel(s) is/are blocked.
Once that is determined, a patient can have stent in place to reopen the blocked blood vessel or under go an open heart surgery.
Thereafter, the patient is on life-long medications to control blood
pressure and a change of lifestyle.
Major hospitals in PNG should by now have all these basic life saving drugs and equipment readily available whilst awaiting transfer to a tertiary facility. There should at least be one tertiary hospital with a cardiac catheter laboratory and trained staff.
Papua New Guineans should by now be trained to perform open heart surgery, otherwise, innocent young lives will continue to perish such as the one reported.
This then leads me to two events in recent times that have raised concerns about the government’s ability (or the lack of it) to make sound and informed decisions. I make reference to the government’s injection of K20 million to build the Pacific Medical Centre, and secondly, the PM’s announcement in New Zealand to provide aid to smaller Pacific Island nations.
This goes to show that the PM has cognition problems. This is nothing short of somatisation, which is the facultative thoughts of the mind being interpreted into bodily symptoms which are gibberish and nonsensical. Grandiose ideas are synonymous in PNG with the “big man” syndrome mentality.
An obsession with the LNG project with the illusion of money in the air for grabs seems so intoxicating to the PM that he had forgotten about basic services to the people.
For the information of the PM, the small Pacific Island nations are better off than the people of his electorate in the Sepik. The PM’s children and grandchildren are living very comfortably in Cairns whilst the people of his electorates are suffering silently. So spare a
thought for the Sepiks, PM.
Dr Kristoffa Ninkama