Early admission of patients to local hospitals can save lives

Detecting infections early and managing it well can save a lot of lives.

That is the view of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) director at the National Health Services, Dr. Dina Tuitama, in an interview with Samoa Observer.

According to Dr. Tuitama, “sepsis refers to managing infections early and treated well which is very significant in saving lives.

“We cannot change the increasing number of sick people in Samoa but what we can do ensure is that they are recognized for what they have and treated immediately.

“Samoa has an increasing number of patients with infections – one of the problems that we have experienced is that patients are brought in to the hospital very late - by the time they are admitted, they have gone through traditional healers.

“This leads to a delay in the process of treatment and causes the patients to develop severe or enhances stages when they should have been admitted as soon as possible,” she said. 

The ICU director also compared Samoa to overseas countries in terms of people seeking medical assistance.

“Compared to overseas countries that automatically seek medical assistance either from the hospitals or private, their illnesses are attended to quite quicker.

“But for Samoa, the problem we have to deal with is people coming in so late and the stage is severe and advanced that it’s often hard to treat not just for adults but also the children.

“People do not recognize that their loved ones are too sick to wait for treatment,” she added.

She also said that another problem is the use of medication.

“Another problem with infection is the use by patients of antibiotics; people sometimes expect that when they have a cold or a flu they expect antibiotics to be given or other times they request from pharmacies.

“But people also tend to not complete the course of taking medications when they feel better but it does not cure the infection but they only started to feel better.

“And so when they come in they are no longer sensitive to that antibiotic instead they gave the opportunity to the bug to get stronger and therefore they have to use stronger medications – but I guess some are not aware of this information.”

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