MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Janette Garin said on Thursday, December 31, that the hospitals usually busy on New Year's Eve are well-prepared to accept and treat patients of fireworks-related injuries (FWRI).
Garin said this after making her rounds in three major hospitals – Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC), Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) – where FWRI patients are mostly rushed.
In JRMMC, all equipment for treating wounds and amputation are ready. Dozens of eggs are also in place to be used as first aid for firecracker ingestion.
PGH has also prepared special facilities for minor and major cases with its observation and acute care units.
The EAMC administration has designated a wider area for the treatment of FWRI cases. Officials said 90% of their doctors are on duty.
"Our hospitals are all ready to accept patients," Garin declared.
She wishes, however, that there would be less victims for this year's celebration.
"Handa po ang ating mga ospital na tanggapin lahat ng pasyente, subalit ipinagdadasal natin na sana'y 'wag nang madagdagan pa ang maputukan," she said.
(All hospitals are ready to accept patients, but we are praying that the number of victims will not continue to rise.)
As of December 31, DOH has recorded a total of 185 fireworks-related incidents.
The health department’s entire workforce is put in code white – meaning, half of them are stationed in hospitals, while half are on call.
Garin affirmed that the DOH campaign against the use of firecrackers is becoming effective, based on the trend of reported incidents for this year.
Statistics since Monday reveal that the number of reported incidents are lower compared to the same period last year.
Garin noted that while there were as much as 100 patients in JRMMC in the past, there are now only 19 patients as of Thursday afternoon.
"Our campaign is becoming effective because strong firecrackers like pla-pla and whistlebomb that cause major injuries are now eliminated. It is only piccolo that remains. When avoided, this would bring in less victims," she said in Filipino.
DOH commended the aggressiveness of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in running after those selling illegal fireworks, which has brought down the number of casualties this year compared to earlier years.
No to piccolo
Even at the last minute, the health department persistently calls on the public to stay away from firecrackers, most especially piccolo.
In the three hospitals inspected, 90% of reported cases are still due to the use of piccolo, with most of the victims minors.
"There are still many piccolos available for use. Surrender your piccolo to the PNP so that they may be properly disposed," Garin urged. – Rappler.com