Friday, February 26, 2021

‘No way to help them’: Covid-19 wreaks havoc at brimming Brazil hospitals

'You never know if they will come again,' health workers say about oxygen deliveries.

Other News

Upacara perkahwinan bukan Islam dibenar di kawasan PKP, PKPB, PKPP

Keputusan itu dibuat kerajaan bagi membolehkan upacara perkahwinan bukan Islam yang tertangguh semasa tempoh PKP 2.0 dapat dilaksanakan.

Perkasa perlu bayar RM150,000 kepada Lim Guan Eng kerana memfitnahnya

Mahkamah membenarkan rayuan Lim untuk mengenepikan keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan yang membatalkan keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi.
00:15:16

Talk, Now with Art Harun

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun talks to Dangsuria Zainurdin about his childhood and music, the joy of kampung life, the sorrows of high posts, and the personal toll that comes with it – in this pilot episode of Talk, Now.

Non-Muslim wedding ceremonies allowed in areas under MCO, CMCO and RMCO

However, they are still prohibited in places under EMCO.

Guan Eng wins bid to reinstate award of damages for defamation by Perkasa

A three-man bench also awards the former Penang chief minister RM50,000 in costs.

The only hospital at Iranduba, an Amazonian town in northwest Brazil, is fast running out of beds and scrambling each day for oxygen as it seeks to accommodate an influx of coronavirus patients who cannot get to the nearest big city.

With no dedicated intensive care unit, the Hilda Freire hospital has had to improvise under the onslaught of a second pandemic wave that has battered Brazil’s northern Amazonas state.

“It was all very quick. Suddenly everything was full. Our structure cannot handle this,” an administrative employee of the hospital, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Iranduba, a town of 50,000 people some 40km from the Amazonas capital Manaus, registered 15 coronavirus deaths between Monday and Wednesday this week – more than in the last four months put together.

Almost all the hospital’s 30 beds are occupied, and it now has just enough oxygen left for one day.

“We have had some losses,” said another hospital worker, clad in top-to-bottom, white protective gear. Health personnel say they do not wish to give their names for fear of professional repercussions.

“We were very sad. We had no way to help them,” the worker said, describing how several patients left the world gasping for breath without access to oxygen.

The hospital has since received several oxygen cannisters from other Brazilian states as well as neighboring Venezuela.

But the relief is short-lived.

“As soon as they unload the oxygen, we start worrying where the next day’s supply will come from. It is a constant stress,” said one hospital staffer.

One hospital for 100,000

Iranduba is accessible via a road with many muddy stretches that are hard to navigate in periods of heavy rain, which are frequent.

It is this road the more seriously-ill patients must travel to Manaus – the only of Amazonas state’s 63 cities with dedicated intensive care beds.

But Manaus, too, is under strain, and has itself received emergency oxygen deliveries.

Privately, families in Manaus are scrambling to find oxygen as they set up makeshift intensive care units at home, distrustful of the state’s ability to take care of loved ones.

Brazil has had more than 210,000 deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic, second only to the US.

Amazonas state has been particularly hard hit among Brazil’s 27 states, with a death rate of 159 per 100,000 inhabitants in an area where rivers and forest terrain make the logistical challenges of confronting a health crisis even more difficult.

At the Iranduba hospital, a volunteer drops off an oxygen cylinder for an 86-year-old patient admitted two weeks ago.

She works for an NGO that delivers medicines and clothes to indigenous communities.

The patient, she told AFP, “spent three or four hours without oxygen, with manual ventilation, and her family asked us for help”.

About 85km west of Iranduba along a road that crisscrosses rivers and jungle, is the town of Manacapuru, which counts 223 Covid deaths among its 100,000 population – the highest rate in Amazonas.

It has only one hospital, Lazaro Reis, where staff race up and down its dilapidated corridors to try and deal with the influx.

‘Another ambulance’

A patient lies on a stretcher in the hall, hooked up to an oxygen cylinder.

“I cannot tell you how many died, but it has been many,” said a doctor, who also did not want to be named.

A siren rings out, drawing closer, prompting someone to exclaim: “Another ambulance.”

“No, it’s oxygen,” cries a man from outside, where he was controlling traffic access with orange cones and making way for the convoy of four vans loaded with green cylinders.

A dozen men rush in to start unloading the vans.

“It gives great joy when they arrive,” said the traffic controller.

“You never know if they will come again.”

On Tuesday, a delivery delay caused seven deaths in Caori, a settlement west of Manacapuru, according to authorities.

One of the men helping load empty cylinders onto a truck pauses, raises his hands to the sky in a praying gesture, and exclaims: “May the oxygen not stop again!”

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/malaysianow

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Maximum RM10,000 fine for SOP offenders beginning March 11

Companies or corporations that violate the SOPs can be fined up to RM50,000.

China approves 2 more home-grown Covid-19 vaccines for use

China is exporting vaccines to 27 countries and providing free doses to 53 others, a foreign ministry spokesman says.

US approves Pfizer vaccine storage at normal freezer temperature

The move loosens a previous requirement that the vaccine should be stored at ultra-low temperatures, between -80 to -60 degrees Celsius.

It’s not just about patent rights, expert says on ways to make Covid jabs cheaper

India's Serum Institute offers a good example of overcoming the problem of vaccine exclusivity during the current health emergency.

New cases drop below 2,000 mark

12 more deaths reported.