A doctor examines a child with dengue fever at the General Hospital of Tien Giang province (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - A dengue patient who was recently brought from the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Tropical Diseases went into shock in the ambulance.

When the vehicle reached the hospital after a drive of several hours, doctors said it was too late to save the victim, Dr Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, Director of the HCM City Hospital of Tropical Diseases, told a workshop on July 20 in HCM City on improving prevention and treatment of dengue fever.

The patient was one of three to die while being “unsafely” brought from their local hospitals to the HCM City Hospital of Tropical Diseases, he said.

“In such cases, doctors at the local hospital should not send patients with severe dengue to the HCM City Hospital of Tropical Diseases. They should instead call our hospital’s hotline to get advice on how they should treat.”

The hospital would guide them and send doctors to the hospital in question to help treat the patient, and this would help reduce the deaths caused by dengue, he said.

Dr Hoang Van Tuyet, vice director of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, said similarly two patients had died on the way to his hospital.

Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy head of the Ministry of Health’s Medical Examination and Treatment Department, said the ministry would instruct health departments around the country to regulate such transfers between hospitals.

The National Hospital of Tropical Diseases should set up a hotline for hospitals in Hanoi and the northern region to provide professional assistance, he said.

Hospitals should also follow the ministry’s guidelines on diagnosis, treatment and emergency aid for dengue patients to reduce fatalities, he said.

One 19-year-old patient was diagnosed with the disease but not treated based on the guidelines, leading to shock and death, he added.

[Hospitals urged to improve dengue fever treatment]

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long warned that the disease would see an upward trend in the next few months.

More and more people would probably contract it and hospitals have to improve their capacity to treat it, he said.

They should take the initiative and call higher-level hospitals that have experience in treating it - such as paediatrics and tropical diseases hospitals – for professional advice before deciding to transfer their patients there, he said.

Tran Dac Phu, head of the ministry’s Preventive Health Department, said 57,492 cases of dengue have been reported in the country this year, 9.7 percent higher year-on-year. Fifteen patients have died, Phu said.

HCM City, Hanoi, Da Nang and the provinces of Binh Duong, Khanh Hoa, An Giang, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Soc Trang, and Tien Giang have reported the highest number of cases.

Dr Phung Duc Nhat, deputy head of HCM City Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, said usually heavy rains start in May, leading to dengue fever breaking out in July and lasting until October.

“However, there were many heavy showers in February this year, so the incidence of dengue has increased since May,” he added.-VNA