Porto’s S. João hospital prepares 138 beds for Ukrainian injured

Porto’s São João Hospital is preparing 138 beds for various specialities, including pediatrics, to receive Ukrainian patients, if necessary, A&E director Nelson Pereira has told Lusa today. 

Health professionals will also be ready for other specialities, such as orthopedics, plastic surgery, physical rehabilitation and oncology

Said the specialist who has been leading the Porto hospital’s management of the Covid pandemic, “one of the major consequences of any conflict is the interruption of treatment for tumour diseases”.

Recalling that “in a country at war, more people die from the disruption of the health system than are hit by bullets or missiles”, Pereira considered that “if this conflict drags on it will be imperative to create humanitarian corridors for the exit of the wounded”.

“It will be the responsibility of all countries, both the border countries and others like Portugal, to manage and triage and evaluate these victims, and to direct them in an organised way to the host territories”.

“We don’t have a very great tradition in this area” he conceded – “and we saw that in the management of the pandemic. We are a country of soft habits that has been spared, either by nature or politics, and we have reduced our planning capacity. Both the pandemic and this situation make us realise that a coordination, planning and command structure is required in a crisis”.

With experience in disaster medicine, Nelson Pereira stressed the need for countries like Portugal to support countries bordering Ukraine, such as Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, possibly by sending Civil Protection and Emergency Medical Teams.

“The needs are being felt in the neighbouring countries, and the response is being given by local actors, non-governmental organisations, local Red Cross, but the supply chains [are] at risk,” he stressed.