The latest major challenge for Panama’s healthcare authorities in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is the shortage of intensive care specialists.
There are only 50 in the whole of the country who directly treat patients with Convid -19 in critical condition many of them facing exhaustion and the shortage adds to the problems caused by breaches of the “absolute” quarantine and the shortage of beds and key medical supplies.
Julio Sandoval, a member of the government commission charged with preventing the spread of the virus, stressed that beyond the high demand for beds and ventilators in intensive care, what worries them is the issue of human resources.
Sandoval said that since Wednesday a group of anesthesiologists, general surgeons, and cardiovascular surgeons began multidisciplinary visits, both at the Social Security Fund and at the Santo Tomás Hospital, together with the intensivists, in the management of seriously ill patients in intensive care.
In total, they hope to gather some 400 specialists to attend in intensive care units.
In addition to these, they will be supported by pulmonologists, internists and dialectologists for the management of patients who are in hospital wards after leaving intensive care.
According to the doctor, during their basic training, pulmonologists –for example– are very familiar with mechanical ventilation, so it would be easy to refresh the concepts of these specialists, so this induction or preparation process could take between 24 and 48 hours.
Domingo Moreno coordinator of the National Negotiating Medical Commission, said it is necessary to continue training emergency doctors and residents, who are in the wards when there are no specialists, " adding that Panama must be seen in the mirror of Italy, where even medical students ended up attending to patients.