Capacity to accommodate oxygen dependent patients has reached tipping point: AMS

With the delta variant being commonly detected and a disturbingly exponential rise in the number of oxygen dependent patients, the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) noted that Sri Lanka’s capacity to accommodate critical Covid-19 patients has reached a “virtual” tipping point.

“With the increasing demand for oxygen, it will be a matter of few days to exceed the supply and hence will result in deaths due to lack of oxygen or more importantly due to the lack of oxygen delivery mechanisms to the patient’s bedside,” the AMS stressed in a press release disseminated today (03).

Further, it was highlighted that such a crisis will be equally applicable to both public and private sectors. In this backdrop, the AMS is of the opinion that further relaxation of Covid restrictions would be similar to adding “fuel to the fire”. 

The Association also underscored that with such relaxations reaching the general public, who are already complacent in obeying guidelines, will result in behaviour which will only aggravate the crisis further.

“We, as a professional body feel it is our prime responsibility to alert and warn the decision makers of the current grim situation. In our opinion, relaxation should have commenced once we’ve achieved vaccination targets along with a declining number of Covid 19 daily cases, which may be in four to eight weeks from now,” it stated.

Despite this, the AMS iterated that it is aware of the country’s declining economic performance indicators and the government’s urgency to get the economy back on track. However, the Association stated that impatient and hurried decisions to open the country up will invariably delay any expected economic growth due to surging Covid 19 related mortality and morbidity.

“As medical specialists, we strongly believe that economists and others have to be alive in the first place to develop the economy and no tourist will come to our country unless and until we are in a reasonably safe place with regard to the current pandemic,” it said.

The AMS expressed disappointment and sadness due to the silence of professionals who act in advisory and advocacy capacity for lack of courage to inform the decision makers of the truth and realities of the ground situation.

“We are almost certain that these advisors are very well aware of the current grim situation in the health sector. Therefore, we are compelled to request the government to revisit their Covid-19 restriction protocols in the wake of surging numbers, especially with this deadly delta variant,” the AMS stated.

As scientific, practical and pragmatic professionals, the AMS strongly believes that an intact nation is required to revive the economy.