Firecracker injuries rise to 245

Health Secretary Enrique Ona motored to key government and private hospitals in Metro Manila on Friday morning to make sure medical personnel are ready to deal with New Year’s Eve revelry-related injuries.

As of 11:30 a.m. Friday, the Department of Health (DoH) reported firecracker injuries rose to 245, including nine victims of stray bullets.

With health beat reporters as well as teams of broadcast journalists in tow, Ona inspected government hospitals, including the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC) in Sta. Cruz. Manila and East Avenue Medical Center (EAMMC) in Quezon City.

Ona said that government hospitals remained on “Code White” alert, wherein there were enough personnel and equipment at the hospitals to accommodate revelry-related injuries.

A Code White Alert is declared when there is a mass gathering of people or national event, wherein hospital personnel and equipment are readied for immediate deployment in the event of mass casualty incidents. Hospital personnel include general and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, operating room nurses, opthalmologists and otorhinolaryngologists.

DoH Central Office in Manila said a nine-year-old boy was wounded in the knee after being hit by a stray bullet in northern Caloocan City before dawn Friday.

DoH officials said the boy was rushed to the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City for treatment. The unidentified boy is a resident of Phase 12 in Tala, Caloocan City.

Speaking to reporters, Ona declared government hospitals in Metro Manila ready to deal with emergencies from the New Year revelry.

Ona said the next 12 hours will be critical as this is usually the time the bulk of casualties are brought to the hospitals for treatment.

He said medical personnel and equipment, including specialists, as “very, very complete” and “all ready.”

Ona made a last-minute appeal to the public not to light firecrackers or burn tires to welcome the New Year. “Burning tires in particular can be very toxic,” he said. PNA

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