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Lack of needed equipment hampers critical surgery

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 3, 2009) – DOCTORS at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara say they are fed up with the lack of vital medical equipment that they need to do life-saving surgery.

The situation has led to increasing complaints from patients against doctors because scheduled operations have not been carried out.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr Patrick Houasia told Solomon Star they were fed up with the situation.

"It’s us doctors at the operating theater who are taking the blame for this," he said.

"Patients have accused us of postponing their scheduled operations.

"But we have to postpone some of the operations because we don’t have the required tools to carry out those operations.

"We are dealing with lives here so we cannot take any risks when we know we don’t have the tools and supplies we need," Dr Houasia said.

He said right now a big number of patients did not have their operations because of the decrease of linens needed to cover operating beds.

"We were told there were not enough of these because the washing machines broke down," Dr Houasia said.

He said the public must understand surgeons cannot perform operations when they don’t have the necessary tools and are short of staff.

"Some people think doctors were to be blamed for the missing things at the operating theatre but what they don’t understand was there were people responsible for these things."

Dr Houasia said the responsibility of clinicians was to operate sick people.

"There were other people who were responsible for the medical supplies we need to do the operation and others who must ensure the operating theatre is ready before we can perform the operation," he said.

Dr Houasia said for a referral hospital to continue to face problems like this is unacceptable.

"At this time, we’ve postponed a long list of patients scheduled for operation because of the situation.

"It’s sad to see patients referred from the province arriving here only to be told we cannot operate on them at this time due to the situation we face," Dr Houasia said.

He said responsible authorities knew about the situation and numerous meetings were held over the situation, but until now, nothing has been done.

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