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Medics down and out
March 3rd, 2018 | 10:22 AM | 465 views
Panic and fear gripped Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (HTAR) on Wednesday night when doctors and nurses started arriving in droves at the emergency department with severe food poisoning symptoms.
The affected staff, all from the hospital’s anaesthesiology department, had attended a medical education breakfast talk that morning.
According to a hospital source, there is strong suspicion that the 50 to 60 people admitted might have contracted typhoid through contaminated food at the talk. They had been served a variety of local delights prepared by an outside caterer.
“Those who came on Wednesday night were put on drips and sent home a few hours later.
He claimed that about three of the victims were currently in the intensive care unit.
The victims were a few specialists, a large number of medical officers and some nurses from the anaesthesiology department who had attended the talk organised by a pharmaceutical company.
Because of the incident, elective surgeries have all been postponed and only emergency surgeries are being scheduled.
“HTAR had sought help from other hospitals to get anaesthesiology personnel to assist in the emergency surgeries,” said the source.
Faecal and blood samples have been extracted from the victims and sent to the Health Ministry laboratory to identify the pathogen.
Meanwhile, HTAR director Dr Ding Lay Ming issued a statement confirming the incident.
She said a total of 76 staff members from the anaesthesiology department had been affected with some of them requiring admission.
She said it is believed the victims suffered from food poisoning after consuming food prepared and supplied by the private caterer.
According to Dr Ding, the hospital management and its clinical team have managed to ensure the smooth operation of the hospital services.
She said, in spite of the mishap, emergency operations and intensive care services were not affected.
“Since the affected staff were from the Department of Anaesthesiology, some of the elective operations scheduled for Thursday and Friday were postponed.
“With the assistance and great teamwork from all those involved, the operating theatre has now resumed normal service,” said Dr Ding.
She added the relevant authorities from the Health Ministry would do the necessary remedial action pending full investigations into the incident.
Ihsan PELITA BRUNEI
by The Star
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