By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A well-known private physician in Freeport has criticised the lack of treatment for COVID patients hospitalised at the Rand.
Dr Kevin Bethel has claimed patients are being discharged from hospital with “no basic treatment”, and still experience some symptoms, and complications such as reduced lung function and stroke. He also noted there are cases of reinfection.
The doctor said COVID can cause a 30 percent reduction in lung function, but that treatment with Acetylcysteine, which can be obtained as a prescription, or over the counter, is cheap and effective in treating the disease. “It is pennies for the pills; it is available over the counter and as a prescription; it is safe and has no side effects - it is just amazing,” he has said.
Other prescription drug options are Persantine, Soliris, and hydroxychloroquine, Dr Bethel said.
Dr Lockhart said COVID positive patients and suspects admitted to the hospital are only receiving “supportive care.”
“Most of the care COVID patients, positive and suspects, are receiving now is supportive care, in absence of any definitive treatment that we have available,” he said.
“A lot of them who require treatment as such usually get oxygen of some kind, whether it is something to supplement or high-level ventilation; a few require intubation, but very few in GB; and hydration. That is the extent of treatment for COVID, but there is also the concern of superimposed infections, and that usually results in additional antibiotic therapy where there is the concern of possible bacterial infections.”
Dr Bethel has raised issue with the treatment some patients are receiving, claiming that some patients are being given Augmentin, an antibiotic, which is useless in treating COVID-19 symptoms.
In response to this, Dr Freeman Lockhart, Chief of Services, Surgery, and Consultant at Rand Memorial Hospital agreed antibiotics are not effective for any viral infection. But he said: “You have to keep in mind in the case of COVID-related patient case there is always the concern of possible bacterial infection. And where clinicians are concern about a possible bacterial infection, they will always initiate bacterial treatment which is antibiotics.”
Concerning complications caused by COVID-19, Dr Lockhart said there are vascular complications as it relates to COVID infections that can cause delayed complications such as vasculitis, and also the lung infection that results from the scarring from COVID that later causes difficulty with breathing and problems with ventilation as a result of underlying COVID infections.
“Those are some of the complications that we are seeing and reading about and we anticipate down the road for patients who have COVID infection,” he said.
During the Prime Minister’s visit to Freeport on Monday Dr Lockhart, Chief of Services he reported that there are currently10 cases in total in hospital on Grand Bahama. Of those, he said seven are positive patients and three are COVID suspects who are awaiting results.
He said: “What we are seeing in GB… since mid-late July which would have been the start of the second surge in GB to present, is a 75 percent drop in COVID-related cases presenting to the emergency room. That is quite significant since mainly, the number of hospital beds is not at risk.”
“We were at a point in late July and early August where we were concerned about the capacity here in GB,” he said. And that’s when we saw a maximum of COVID-related cases, both positive and suspected cases, and our capacity was not able to sustain the number of patients.
“We are thankful for what we are seeing now is a decline in patients. As a result, concern as it relates to capacity in GB has settled.”
As of September 4, 2020, there have been 584 cases of COVID-19 recorded on Grand Bahama. After July 1 following the reopening of the borders, Grand Bahama had experienced an exponential surge in coronavirus infections, and at one point had surpassed the number of cases in New Providence, and was classified as a hot spot for coronavirus infections due to increased community spread at the time.