Home World Anesthetists strike: ‘Overstretched’ KATH provides uninterrupted service to patients

Anesthetists strike: ‘Overstretched’ KATH provides uninterrupted service to patients

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Authorities at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital say the facility is overstretched as thirty-two physician anesthetists are forced to do the work meant for 85 anesthetists in the face of the ongoing industrial action.

Head of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Directorate at KATH, Prof Akwasi Antwi-Kusi tells Joynews the action has overstretched the few available hands.

That notwithstanding, he says the hospital will continue to provide uninterrupted service to the general public.

“In fact, we have been stretched to our limit. Now we have some of the doctors taking care of Covid-19 patients at the Intensive Care and  if you come to the normal Intensive Care Unit here too, it’s my doctors who are supposed to be working there. And then we have doctors working at the normal OPD; the anaesthetisia clinics.”

According to Professor Antwi-Kusi, the increasing number of cases meant the few available staff have to work extra, adding that some had gone for several hours without rest.

“In the wake of this strike, some of them have to work extra. Some have worked for 24-hours since yesterday 8 am till today; they are still on their feet working.”

Members of the Certified Registered Anaesthetists in a letter addressed to the health minister announced withdrawal of services effective January 1, 2022 as they begin an indefinite strike action.

Team of physician anaesthetists, supported by other health professionals were busily preparing patients for surgical procedures at the Accident and Emergency Unit when the news team visited at about 8:40 a.m  on Wednesday.

The doctors are unhappy with reports that KATH has suspended all emergency surgical procedures despite some staff being at post.

“We’ve been operating; we’ve never stopped operating. We were even operating throughout the season so information they have out there is not true,” echoed, Dr. Raphael Quartey, a Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon who was busily operating on a patient in one of the theatres at the Accident and Emergency Center.

Another doctor who spoke to JoyNews was Dr. Joan Oby, a Specialist Anesthesiologist who was leading  a team of anesthetists to provide anesthesia to a man undergoing surgery on his lower limbs.

“This patient has to have surgery on his lower limb so we are doing spinal anesthesia for that,” she clarified.

For her and other professionals, the call to duty supersedes any personal gains.

Members of the Certified Registered Anaesthetists say the strike is indefinite until the government responds to  calls for improved working conditions and recognition.

At least 52 of them, mainly nurses, have withdrawn their services at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

This means trained medical doctors fill up the vacuum created at the facility.

Anesthetists strike: ‘Overstretched’ KATH provides uninterrupted service to patients
Team of Anaethesists, doctors prepare for surgery

Head of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Directorate at KATH, Dr. Akwasi Antwi-Kusi is worried the situation, if not checked, could cause the few hands available to break down from stress.

“If this thing (strike) prolongs, then obviously, they are going to break down. They can’t cope because the referrals are coming from all over.

“I mean if you were doing 10 cases and now you are doing 25-30, then you can see how big the problem is.”

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