Health service could ‘run into trouble’ when Covid-19 cases ‘surge’ occurs

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[imgcap=The larger the number who get sick, the larger the number who will need critical care, said Dr O’Connor. File picture.]CoronavirusCrokeParkTestingMar2020c_large[/img]

The president of the association of emergency medicine, Dr Emily O’Connor has expressed concern that the health service could “run into trouble” when the anticipated “surge” in Covid-10 cases occurs.

While a lot of planning has gone into extending the number of intensive care beds in hospitals, keeping numbers down is the best way to give the health service “the best chance” to have enough critical care, she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

“This is like a funnel,” she explained. Whatever number of people get the virus, some will have mild symptoms, some severe while at “the narrow end” there will be five per cent who require critical care support.

The larger the number who get sick, the larger the number who will need critical care, said Dr O’Connor.

“If too many get infected the narrow end of the funnel will be too wide and we won’t have enough beds.”

If too many require critical care then “we may run out of beds. I am very anxious that we will run into trouble.”

Fantastic work was being done by hospitals to extend the number of critical care beds available, but Dr O’Connor was concerned that there would not be enough staff to care for patients. “A ventilators doesn’t work by itself. A critically ill patient in intensive care will need several nurses.”

Dr O’Connor said that she expects the surge will arrive in the next week or two and that it is already in nursing homes.

“We are as ready as we can be, a lot of work has been done creating space.”



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