The Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital does not have the sufficient capacity to treat COVID patients and other patients admitted into the Intensive Care Unit with the increasing number of COVID cases.
There are only three certified Anesthesiologist Doctors in the Country.
In addition to that, the number of frontline doctors and nurses infected by the virus continues to increase with more than 50 nurses and five doctors in isolation.
This is a concern for the Deputy President of the Medical Association, Papalii Dr Tito Kamu who also Heads the Paediatric Ward.
In an interview with Radio Polynesia, Papali’i said “Samoa is saved by the Grace of God, in terms of the limited numbers of people that are admitted into the Intensive Care Unit, otherwise, there are patient capacity issues.
“Fortunately the majority of the cases are asymptomatic.”
He said there are only three qualified Anesthesiologists in Samoa and its led by Dr Pesamino Pomau with two other doctors in his team.
“This is a major concern and the Ministry of Health has made a special request to Cabinet to bring in more Anesthesiologists to assist Samoa during the pandemic.”
He said keeping in mind, aside from the COVID patients at the ICU, there are other patients that require surgeries and the hospital cannot rely solely on these three doctors to carry out the workload.
Efforts were made to get comments from the Minister of Health Valasi Tafito Selesele have been unsuccessful as of press time.
Papalii is being isolated at home for 10 days after being tested positive. He told Radio Polynesia, that doctors and nurses are to return back to work ten days after isolation due to the shortage of doctors and nurses.
“This is not just a job for us, it is a calling and I will never sway from my oath as a doctor as our job is vital now more than ever.”
Last month Deputy Director-General, Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen said during a press conference the increasing numbers are concerning to the Disaster Advisory Committee.
He said they have opted for “skeleton staff” to work each shift to assure the staff are not strained and the operation continues without any disruption.