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Hospitals on code white alert for New Year


Rhodina Villanueva – The Philippine Star

December 29, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — All Department of Health (DOH) hospitals are on “code white alert” starting today up to Jan. 2, 2024, putting all personnel especially those in emergency medicine, surgical and anesthesia specialties and nurses on active on-call status.

“We do this yearly to respond to the several incidents of fireworks-related injury (FWRI) as the public welcomes the New Year. Even though there are fewer cases now compared to those that have been recorded in the past years, it is better to still be prepared for any eventuality,” DOH Assistant Secretary Ariel Valencia said.

All necessary equipment, instruments, medical and surgical supplies, drugs and medicines needed to attend to emergencies have been prepositioned at the emergency department and additional tent for treatment area with portable sink and supplies placed just outside emergency department in case there will be a surge of patients, Dr. Monserrat Chichioco, medical center chief II of a Level 3 hospital in Central Luzon said.

The DOH assured the public that all Disaster Risk Reduction Management in Health counterparts at the local government unit and hospitals are on standby and will activate and maintain the functions of the Operation Center/One Hospital Command 24/7 for the covered dates.

Chichioco noted that simple firecracker injuries can be treated in Level 2 hospitals as major fireworks injuries need to be treated in Level 3 hospitals with trauma and burns units.

In cases of fireworks injuries, Chichioco advises patients to have their injuries washed with clean water and wrapped with clean cloth or gauze.

Patients must immediately go to the nearest hospital for assessment and treatment including administration of anti-tetanus immunization, debridement and cleaning of wounds.

In cases of explosion, responders must ensure that the scene is safe before approaching the victim and applying first aid such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

First responders must also secure the patient’s airway by opening mouth and clearing nostrils and wrap any burned area with clean cloth.

To prevent fireworks injuries, Chichioco said the DOH advised New Year revelers to use alternative methods for noise barrage like pots, pans, tin cans, drums and horns instead of fireworks.

Among the Level 3 hospitals of the DOH in Central Luzon that have both trauma and burns units are Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, Paulino Garcia Memorial Medical Center in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija and Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center in the City of Balanga, Bataan.

The DOH also reminded the public against food-borne diseases or food poisoning caused by infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites) and non-infectious agents (chemicals, animal and plant toxins).

“We have to be wary of the food we eat, especially those that can easily spoil, and if we are uncertain when and how the food was prepared. If food poisoning is suspected, visit the nearest hospital,” Valencia added.

Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

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