Ministry of Health Care Provokes Deadly Shortage
The republican scientific-practical center Cardiology again experiences the deficiency of the expendable materials for operations on heart. For the sake of economy the doctors reduced the number of operations to the minimum. They refuse to operate the patients and even sign them out to that they will not die waiting in the center. The internet-newspaper Ezhednevnik writes about this in its article.
The most serious is the shortage of oxy-generators that are necessary for artificial circulation of blood during the operations. Meanwhile, this situation was not an unexpected incident, but formed about five months ago. Only several dozens of more expensive, but rarely used devices were left in the center. Their use was economically inexpedient, but the center had to do it to continue making operations. However, even then the number of operations was reduced to four per day, though the center can make six.
Three weeks ago even the more expensive oxy-generators ended. The doctors had only the reserve stock which they decided to use only in the extraordinary cases on permission of the center administration or direct orders from the Ministry of Health Care. They started signing out the patients who were prepared for the operations.
But people want to live despite of any deficiencies. No wonder that the ill started begging the doctors to tell them where they could buy the necessary medicines. However, being on the brink of death, these people were deprived even of this hint. Remembering the sad experience of their imprisoned colleagues, none of the doctors wanted to be put behind bars for their humanism.
The last week was especially hard for the center. It started getting mass calls from other clinics with the requests to operate the ill people who were dying in resuscitation departments.
The center had to refuse in almost all cases. It is impossible to say how many people died because of the deficiency, because the ill people fought for their lives outside the center. Only several operations were conducted. We should describe each of them to show that in the 21st century in the center of Europe people can die because of deficiency of expendable materials for operations.
The last oxy-generator from Homel cardiologic dispenser was transported to Minsk for one of the patients. By the way, the workers of Homel cardiologic dispenser who perform operations on heart are in the same situation and have forced vacations.
Another oxy-generator, also the last one, was taken from Children’s surgical department for a very small and slim woman.
The third case is the most terrible of all. A 39-year-old citizen of Mazyr suffered an aortic rupture while doing exercises. He needed an urgent operation, every minute counted. According to the statistics, about 50% die during the first hour after such crisis. According to the doctors, a terrible formula works in this case: every minute the chances of a person to survive are reduced by 1%. The patient’s wife managed to get a new device in Kyiv. At 5 a.m. on 2 November the sick man was taken to the Cardiology center having everything necessary with him.
The perfusiologist (the doctor, who works with oxy-generators) blankly refused to use the oxy-generator, though the supporting documents were correct. The wife had to write an application to the ministry and wait till it let the medics use it. As a result, the man who needed an immediate operation was operated at 1 p.m., eight (!) hours after the rupture. He was in such a state that the medics barely managed to save him.
In order to correct the situation the Ministry of Health Care urgently ordered 30 oxy-generators from England. However, if the center worked according to the normal schedule, it would be enough only for a week. That’s why the administration of the Cardiology center decided to reduce the number of operations to three per day in order to prolong the agony to two weeks.
In order to understand what these 30 oxy-generators mean it is necessary to remember that more than 6 000 people in Belarus are awaiting an operation on heart.
2 500 more are in a special line for those, who need urgent operation – it means that their lives can end every minute. It is necessary to say that the lot that was a rescue for 30 persons was transported by express mail in special package, which made the cost twice higher. It means that 30 more persons were deprived of help because of the negligence of the Ministry of Health Care.
Were it only for the deficiency of oxy-generators, one could refer it to a tragic coincidence. However, Ezhednevnik managed to find out that the republican scientific-practical center also experiences shortage of other components necessary for the operations. In particular, during several months there were no rings for plastics of the mitral valve. The doctors were short of sewing materials, especially for aortic prosthesis (the sick say that one of them died because of it). There were no cartridges for testing the parameters of fibrillation, no fulminate caps for retrograde cardioplegia (forced heart stoppage). Again, there are rumors that a doctor used a catheter for urinary bladder instead of the cap, because the operation could not start otherwise.
All these facts witness that the Cardiology center has serious problems. Probably, soon some of them will be solved. According to Ezhednevnik, the Ministry of Health expects a large lot of oxy-generators by the end of November. In general, the situation is sad. It is aggravated by the fearful atmosphere among the doctors, who are afraid to risk their freedom and reputation for saving the sick people. They see the officials spend huge money on buying the expensive equipment which they almost don’t use and lack even the most necessary things, but keep silence.
After a sober evaluation, the officials of the Ministry of Health started saying that it would be good to return to the practice when the patients bought the deficient expendable materials. Even the minister seems to think over this variant. However, will this practice be returned, there arises a logical question: what should be done with the medics, who have been judged or await trial for such services?
The main department of preliminary investigations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs informed Ezhednevnik that on 5 December Maskouski district court of Minsk will start hearings on a criminal case against the head of the 2nd cardio-surgical department of the Cardiology center. He is accused of especially large-scale fraud, abuse of the official powers and receiving bribes by blackmail. Together with them the court will try the representatives of commercial firms who are accused of illegal business activity, misuse and abuse of their powers. The matter of the trial is that medics advised patients and their relatives to by the expendable materials that were deficient in the center.