We are following the Italian script. Healthcare at the limit of its capacity

Doctors are missing. Nurses are missing. The place is running out in other hospitals. Ambulances travel hundreds of kilometers to cram patients somewhere. Sanepid lost its processing capacity long ago. Welcome to Lombardy… no, now this Lombardy is Poland.

There is no hospital room for an ambulance driver

An ambulance driver, who until recently had taken COVID-19 patients to hospitals, died in Garwolin on Friday. He had been in home isolation for several days because he tested positive for the coronavirus. Why, despite his deteriorating health, he did not go to the hospital early enough? Nobody was able to find a free place in Warsaw or Siedlce. When the driver was admitted to the hospital in Garwolin on Friday, it was too late.

Hospitals refuse to admit patients: no places available

However, this is not an individual situation. At the end of the week TVN24 published the recording from the public radio channel on which you can hear the conversations of ambulance drivers with one of the dispatchers in Warsaw. On the long recording you can hear how successive hospitals definitely refuse to admit a patient from the ambulance. Even calling the police does not help, because doctors refuse to admit a patient due to lack of places, lack of equipment and lack of personnel required to care for the patient. After a few hours, as a result of the voivode’s decision, the patient is finally admitted to the hospital, which was the first to refuse his admission, even after calling the police.

The fundamental question is then: what kind of care will such a patient be provided in this hospital, since the doctor on the ward refused to see the patient, even under pressure from the police, arguing that he was unable to help him?

No test result? Forget about the hospital

On the same day, we learned from social media about a private tragedy of one of the actresses of the series “M jak miłość”. As a result of two doctor’s televisions, prolonged waiting for the test results (the results of the test performed on Tuesday were only delivered on Saturday), no doctor decided to examine the patient, and no ambulance wanted to come for him, because “there are no places in hospitals anyway”. Within days, the actress lost her father and grandfather to COVID-19.

Young and healthy = / = safe

COVID-19 is a disease that doctors and researchers are yet to learn, and so far do not have complete knowledge about its course and risk factors. It is known, however, that the severe course of the disease does not only affect the elderly. An example not from our backyard: Dmitry Stuzuk, a Ukrainian influencer and fitness trainer who was followed by over a million people in Ukraine, died on Friday. Stużuk contracted the coronavirus while on vacation in Turkey. He was hospitalized right after he returned to Ukraine. He also managed to post a photo from the hospital on Instagram saying that the worst is behind him, because he feels better. Two days later, his wife announced his death from COVID-19.

The most serious situation so far is in the Mazowieckie and Małopolskie voivodships. Doctors and nurses work much more than they should. The places in hospitals are over, and ambulance dispatchers and drivers, trying to bring new patients to the doctor, bounce off other hospitals. The recently introduced restrictions should stop this trend, but according to doctors, we must wait another two weeks for their effects. Until then, we can expect the situation to worsen further.

For this reason, however, it may be worth the effort: wear masks and minimize participation in events with a large number of people. The photo below, taken by Adam Pasierb in Krakow on Friday night, shows perfectly what should not be done.

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