Dr. Suthan Kaveri clearly remembered the first days of the floods when he visited the Flood Relief Center in Taman Sri Muda, Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil), on the evening of December 19, 2021, in Tama Sri Muda.
There was his company distributing additional stock of face mask, ePink Health, when he realized that the center lacked medical care.
Being from a telemedicine platform, Dr. Suthan knew that he could take advantage of their network of doctors and other medical professionals to benefit flood victims.
So he started working to bring his inner team and help him explode the messages to the medical professionals he knew.
On the evening of December 19, he gathered a group and set up an emergency clinic, dividing people into green, yellow and red areas, depending on the urgency of their medical needs.
Making sense of chaos
The green areas were treated for flood victims who had common colds, flu, cough, fever, headaches and so on. In the yellow zone, Dr. Suthan and his team have high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on.
“The flood victims were stuck [in their locations] 48 hours before they were rescued, and their medication had already cleared the floods, ”Dr. Suthan said in an interview with the Vulcan Post.
“They didn’t take medication for 48 hours. So their blood pressure, diabetes, was definitely out of control. ”
Dr. Suthan and his team stayed at the center for 7 days, estimating that they had given about RM50K medication.
These funds came from donors across Malaysia, who paid directly to pharmacies, and then handed them over to the drug group.
For patients who were in more serious conditions than the medication could control, the group had to be stabilized before being first taken to the nearest hospitals.
Meanwhile, in the red zone, the fallen patients had to be resuscitated. As we walked through the memories of Dr. Suthan’s events, he remembered a particularly high impact they saw in the red zone: having to help a mother who was going through an early birth.
As she recounted the story, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her mother, who might have been shocked by the floods at first, relocated and then given birth in a relief center full of hundreds of people, imagining the anxiety she might have had. thousands of other victims.
On the medical side, Dr. Suthan felt that his team felt an adrenaline rush as they worked to stabilize him until they were taken to a safer place to give birth.
From mass treatment to home calls
From his memory, there was never a slow day at the center, especially when they had to be careful with the risk of COVID-19 infection.
To care for so many people and a group of about 30 people, the medical team spent most of their time at the center.
Dr. Suthan himself stated that he spent more time a week there than at home, even showering and eating.
By December 25, the center was closed, but the ePink Health team, which wanted to continue volunteering, opened a small medical booth in Taman Sri Mudan on December 27. They performed similar services until New Year’s Eve.
“Today, we still have a balance of medications, though. So what we’re doing is a door-to-door screening and giving free medication, “Dr. Suthan said.
The initiative began on January 7 and will be repeated indefinitely until at least the other clinics in Taman Sri Muda can be reopened.
In total, it has a team of about 40 volunteers spread across the district to implement the plan.
In the absence of flooding on a typical day, ePink Health would provide telehealth consultations with physicians, nutritionists, psychologists, and others with electronic pharmacy services and home calls upon request.
In the last months of the floods, however, volunteering was a top priority, especially during the devastating first week.
Thus, his usual operations were interrupted for a moment. With house-to-house performances and medicine deliveries, however, Dr. Suthan arranged them for special weekends so that ePink Health could continue as usual from Monday to Friday.
Better and better prepared to move forward
Based on his experience with Taman Sri Muda, he had some sharing tips to share so that he could be better prepared if similar natural disasters (crossing his fingers) happened again.
“What we can do is digitize simple medical records, just like the basic medicines that people take,” he said.
“If you are in a flood-prone area and have your IC, if you want to keep your passport, please we can also pack your chronic medications together.” In this way, the problem of washing medicines can be avoided.
If resources allow, medical teams can also set up relief centers in advance, after the nation has warned the MetMalaysia of immediate floods or similar.
As far as ePink Health and similar healthcare companies can help further in this space, Dr. Suthan said they were collecting data on the flood victims they treated.
“We dissected them according to the severity of the floods, the type of disease and any acute condition.”
“Based on these, we can share the data with KKM in order to prepare for these specific conditions in the event of a major flood again and to make a proper plan to respond better,” he said.
For example, if the data show that there were many chronic diabetic patients who lost their medications in the last floods, for future disasters, that medication could be prepared in advance to spread to first aid centers.
All in all, what I got from talking to Dr. Suthan was that the technology, data, and manpower in the private healthcare sector are readily available. We just need to make the most of them.
- Read more flood-related content here.
Featured Image Credit: Dr. Suthan Kaveri, ePink Health