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Accident & Emergency Department

The Department of Accident & Emergency renders services on a 24-hour basis. It is the first port of call for all surgical, medical and gynaecological emergencies arriving in the hospital. It is therefore important to the image of the hospital. It is a centre where split-second decisions and actions must be taken to avoid unnecessary loss of lives. The department has a 30-bed space capacity. Four of these beds are maintained at the reception area with attached resuscitative gadgets for the resuscitation of critically ill patients.

Scope: Trauma and non-trauma related emergencies (medical or surgical)

For Protocol of Service, see UPTH Service Charter.

A Brief History:

The Accident and Emergency Department started with the Teaching Hospital in 1983 as “Casualty Unit” at Emohua General Hospital, and later at the defunct General Hospital, Port Harcourt, where it was operating from a space measuring approximately 18 x 20 feet cubicle. It was not long thereafter, a one-storey building was built. The ground floor served as the Emergency room, an x-ray unit, and a Pharmacy unit. The top floor served as ARD common room, office, and call rooms. The Emergency room had a bed capacity of 12.

At the temporary site “Casualty” was supervised by units who took calls in turns, but as residency training gained momentum, it was transformed into the present Accident & Emergency Department, with Dr. Bob Yellowe as its premier Head of Department. The under listed are its successive heads till date:

Dr. Bob Yellowe (Surgery) 1996 – 2002, Dr. F. S. Wokoma (Internal Medicine) 2002 – 2005, Dr. Nze Jebbin (Surgery) 2008 – 2011, Dr. S. Ibeanusi (Orthopaedics) 2011 – 2015, Dr. R. C. Echem (Orthopaedics), 2015 – 2017, Dr. P. D. Okoh (Surgery) 2018 – Till date.

The Casualty unit was subsequently renamed Accident and Emergency Department which eventually moved to the permanent UPTH site early 2005.

Today, at the permanent site, the A/E department is located at the mid-western part of the Hospital, having a bed capacity of 30.

Units Within The A&E Department Include:

  1. The reception area has 3 consulting rooms, 1 room for triage, 4 beds for resuscitation, 2 couches and 2 trolleys. Emergency cases that require urgent resuscitation are seen, examined and resuscitated here. When stable, they are either moved into the holding bays or transferred to the respective specialty’s wards.
  2. The Accident and Emergency theatre has 2 operating suits, for minor clean procedures (reduction of fractures, cystotomy, herniorrhaphy, etc)and dirty procedures (wound suturing, debridements, I &D, etc).
  3. The female holding bay has 6 beds for 24-48 hours observation for stabilized emergency cases pending transfer to the specialist ward.
  4. The male holding bay has 10 beds while additional 6 beds are reserved for infectious conditions.

Staff Strength:
The department has 18 Consultants, 48 Nurses and Health Assistants, 4 ad hoc cleaners/porters, and 11 administrative staff.

Average Monthly Patient Attendance:

There is an average monthly attendance of 776 patients in the Department.

Departmental Facilities:

  • The reception area which has 3 consulting rooms, 1 room for triage, 4 beds for resuscitation, 2 couches and 2 trolleys is the outer most part of the Department.
  • The Accident and Emergency theatre which is contiguous with the reception area has 2 suits.
  • The female holding bay which has 6 beds lies behind and to the left of the reception area.
  • The male holding bay which has 16 beds lies further behind and to the right of the female holding bay.
  • The side lab and plaster room lie adjacent to each other and opposite the male holding area.
  • The Department office and Project Accountant’s office lie side by side but to the left of the female holding bay.
  • The HOD’s office lies opposite the female holding bay.
  • The seminar room/library lies behind the triage room and contiguous with the theatre.

Patients Flow:

The A&E department mainly receives patients from the public, but also receives emergency cases from the Family Medicine clinics, Internal Medicine clinics, Surgery clinics, etc.

Patients seen and treated are either discharged or referred to the specialist clinics; more serious ones are referred to specialist teams on call, reviewed and subsequently admitted into specialist wards.
The Department does not usually refer patients to other institutions.

Future Prospects / Vision.

The Burns centre and the ENT/Ophthalmology Theatres are currently occupying parts of the original structure of the Accident and Emergency Department. It is hoped that more appropriate accommodations would be assigned to these units soon and more space would become available to the Accident & Emergency Department for expansion. We look forward to such a time when the Accident and Emergency Department shall split into Trauma/Surgical Emergency Department and Medical Emergency Department.

–Dr. Peter D. Okoh (HOD)

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