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Emergency declared in
Pakistani hospitals as war clouds loom
29 (Internews): The military authorities in Pakistan
on Saturday placed all public hospitals in the country on alert in the
wake of continuing Indian military build-up on the borders and rising
military tensions between the two countries.
An official directive to this effect has been dispatched to the public
hospitals asking their administrations to remain prepared for any
eventuality in case hostilities break out between India and Pakistan.
It stressed on keeping adequate number of beds vacant in the hospitals,
"as a situation may arise when casualties will have to be evacuated to
these hospitals." The doctors at public hospitals in Islamabad and
Rawalpindi said several hundred beds have been reserved to meet such an
Military sources said it was important to take this step because in
normal days these hospitals are so over-crowded that it becomes
difficult for them to deal with any emergency.
Bed utility in most Pakistani hospitals is urban areas is much higher
than the international standards of 80 per cent utilisation and in
certain wards it is as high as 200 per cent.
Military officials said in case of hostilities 25 per cent of the bed
strength of public hospitals would automatically be put at the disposal
of the armed forces for victims of war.
Officials denied asking the hospital authorities to get the beds vacated
rather they said that they have only been advised not to admit cold
cases that could be deferred for sometime.
The sources disclosed that the hospital authorities have been directed
to review their disaster management plans according to the situation and
be prepared to handle emergency situation on a short notice.
The arrangements are not only limited to the twin cities but hospitals
across the country have been put on alert, sources said.
All the public hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been directed
to make adequate arrangements to attend to almost 200 casualties a day.
Emergency kits comprising fluids and dressings have been prepared and
other allied arrangements finalised.
The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has declared a state
of emergency and activated its disaster management plan by stocking
first aid emergency kits, initially for 1,000 patients. The PIMS
administration has also alerted all the casualty medical
officers, in-charge of blood bank and different wards, doctors,
pharmacists and paramedics.
Surgery IV and Medical V have been reserved exclusively to house
emergency patients in case of any eventuality. The staff members on
leave have been recalled and all leaves cancelled.
The most prestigious Pakistani medical complex will on Monday submit a
readiness report for President Pervez Musharraf and Health Minister
The PIMS had recently conducted a mock drill before the US attack in
Afghanistan to ascertain the capabilities of its disaster management
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