Friday, June 14, 2024

Health service admits to deficit of more than 4,000 vital signs monitors

The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) acknowledged that hospital emergency rooms around the country are lacking vital signs monitors and some of the monitors they do have are in a state of disrepair. 

According to a statement by IMSS, Mexico is facing a deficit of 4,121 monitors in 61 emergency rooms and 1,061 other hospitals and clinics, meaning that doctors and nurses on the front lines of the virus don’t have the tools they need to care properly for patients. 

Proper equipment is especially vital during triage when medical staff is charged with evaluating a patient’s symptoms in minutes; assessing symptoms and determining what treatment a patient needs as rapidly as possible is especially important with a contagion like coronavirus.

Vital signs monitors provide doctors and nurses with a quick read on a patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, temperature and blood oxygen levels and can also alert staff when any of these signs are outside normal acceptable levels. 

At present, vital signs are being monitored one by one, using manual equipment. 

This leaves the system vulnerable to human error, especially in cases where a patient is being evaluated for systems of respiratory distress which has similar symptoms to pneumonia.

IMSS asked for the monitors in 2019 and placed a 407,000,00 peso (US $17.1-million) funding request in the hands of  Mexico’s Ministry of Finance, which deferred funding of the equipment to the 2020 budget. However, the purchase was not included in the 2020 IMSS budget passed by Congress. 

In a normal year, around 18.2 million patients are seen at IMSS facilities, but that’s without the surge in coronavirus that could strain the country’s health system to its breaking point. 

The Health Ministry’s Hugo López-Gatell announced that the country is looking to purchase 10,000 monitors from the United States as Mexico likely moves into phase 3 of the pandemic. 

Currently, Mexico has 4,661 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has recorded 296 deaths.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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