Trauma cases double in Cape hospitals over past weekend
When the ban on alcohol was first lifted in June, there was a noticeable increase in the number of hospital admissions linked to alcohol.
This led to the reinstatement of the ban, as hospitals were unable to cope.
But as the country saw a drop in cases, and in response for the easing of restrictions, the ban was lifted again effective last week. Government and health authorities were confident hospitals now have the capacity to deal with both Covid-19 cases and alcohol-related emergency admissions.
Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief of operations for the Western Cape Department of Health, takes a look at what impact the alcohol ban has had on admissions over the past week and weekend.
Kariem says it may take a few weeks for all the data to come through in this regard.
He did phone the big hospitals over the weekend where most trauma cases go, including Tygerberg, Groote Schuur, Somerset Mitchells Plain, and Khayelitsha Hospitals.
All of them had double the number of trauma-related cases this past weekend compared to the weekend before.Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health
The weekend before the unbanning of alcohol sales Tygerberg Hospital had about 25 patients in a 24-hour period
Some had more than doubled.
This weekend past they had almost 55 patients in a 24-hour period...Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain were also particularly busy.Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health
That's 160 trauma cases at Tygerberg over the weekend.
These cases include many alcohol-related accidents, he notes.
We are still coping for the moment and that's why we watch both Covid and non-Covid statistics very, very carefully so daily we keep a finger on the pulse.Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health
But he says they are very careful to monitor the moment the province's hospitals have a 69% occupancy. At 85% hospitals are considered full.
Anything above that 85% becomes overwhelming.Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health
Trauma cases are back to pre-lockdown levels.Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health
He says among the cases were gunshot wounds, stabbing, motor vehicle, and pedestrian accidents, and some cases of gender-based violence.
In the clinical assessment made over 85% of those cases were alcohol-related.Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health
Should hospital occupancy exceed the 85% level, he says a decision will have to be made to, for example. shift patients from one hospital to another.
Listen to the interview below:
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