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Lives 'put at risk by lack of data'

Manama, August 19, 2008

Patients’ lives are being endangered by private hospitals and clinics, which fail to keep proper records, say emergency doctors.

Many emergency patients are referred to Salmaniya Medical Complex without any diagnostic paperwork or medical records, it emerged on Monday.

Now all private hospitals and clinics have been ordered by the Health Ministry’s Licensure Directorate to maintain complete patient records.

Failure to provide records with referrals to the SMC could seriously jeopardise patients’ treatment, particularly in emergencies, say doctors.

Licensure Directorate head Dr Tawfeeq Naseeb denied there had been any specific provocation to issue the directive, but said it was nevertheless necessary to ’reinforce’ the requirements of the law to the clinics and hospitals.

’There may have been some violations but none have been reported to us,’ he told the Gulf Daily News.

’We have issued this directive solely as a caution so that there is no problem.’

He said maintaining patients’ records was necessary, even if someone goes to a clinic to get a dressing for a wound.

’These records should be available as and when required,’ said Dr Naseeb.

Emergency doctors often depend on that first diagnosis from the other hospital or clinic, so that they can begin immediate treatment, said sources.

’Subsequently, we may do other investigations but we begin treatment immediately because even a slight delay could be dangerous,’ they said.

One of the doctors, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they recently had a ’walk-in’ patient, who was referred from a private hospital after he had chest pains.

’We treated him immediately on what he told us and discovered he was about to have a massive heart attack,’ he said.

’That patient should never have been asked to come to the SMC on his own accord and should have been moved by ambulance.’

Department chairman Dr Jassim Al Mehza said it was always helpful if patients came to the hospital with proper records of their initial treatment.

’We would normally conduct our own investigations only if we feel that we need to investigate further,’ he said.

Dr Al Mehza said he was not aware of any recent fatality related to the non-availability of patient records. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Salmaniya | Patients | lives | Health Ministry |

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