The space is saturated, so the center has already activated level 3 of the contingency plan. And it is that, until yesterday, of the 32 beds in the Unit, 27 were occupied by patients with the SARS-CoV-2 infection -the last two were admitted during the morning-, which has again forced the use of the Resuscitation and Awakening area to assist people suffering from other complications. There were five patients there this Thursday.
Since last week, the hospital was experiencing a complex situation. In fact, on the night of Wednesday, July 28, level 2 of the plan had to be launched. However, the number of discharges registered in the course of 24 hours allowed to go back the next day to the lowest level, despite the fact that there were 21 people affected by the microorganism in critical condition. In resuscitation, another six remained for reasons unrelated to the covid.
Nine out of ten patients who occupy a critical bed are not immunized
“The contingency plan works very well and includes very close coordination between the anesthesia service and the IMU. This allows us to refer patients to resuscitation as patients with covid are admitted, which makes it possible to maintain dignified care for all critical hospital patients, “explained Juan Carlos Martín González, head of the Intensive Medicine service of the Gran Canaria complex.
However, according to José Ángel Alcaraz Jiménez, UMI Nursing Supervisor, this action has repercussions on hospital activity. “Transferring a patient who has to be in intensive care to the Resuscitation and Awakening area means limiting the possibilities of undergoing surgery to those who may need it. This is important to reflect it, since society has to know this, “emphasized the professional. The center guaranteed yesterday that urgent and oncological operations have been maintained. Others, on the other hand, have had to be reprogrammed to be able to respond to the demand for care.
Vaccination, added to security measures, has established itself as the best weapon to combat the virus. For this reason, one of the data that worries health professionals the most is that nine out of ten patients who require admission to the hospital ICU due to the activity of the microorganism are not vaccinated against the pathogen, or have not completed the relevant guideline to be immunized against the condition it causes. “Some have not had the opportunity to do it, but others have not done it because they did not want to,” explained the intensivist, who did not hesitate to value the advantages of vaccination. “It is very difficult for patients vaccinated with a complete schedule to reach intensive care and, when they do, it is generally because the clinical picture is associated with other risk factors,” the doctor warned.
Likewise, the arrival of young patients is one of the experiences that most captures the attention of the union. “We are serving many people between 30 and 50 years old and the age is decreasing more and more. We are surprised that young people have to go to intensive care because they do not take care of themselves, knowing that the protection measures are clear and that the vaccine is there for whoever wants it, ”stressed the Nursing supervisor.
It should be noted that obesity is one of the risk factors that is being observed among this group and that worries those who work in the Unit every day, since it often makes it difficult for patients to improve. “In general, the youngest have a better response than the older ones, but that does not prevent some of them from entering a very serious condition and even dying. Obesity is becoming a devastating factor and there are many obese young people who are in very bad shape, ”reported the head of the service. “It may seem that young people are immune, but they are not,” he recalled.
The group already has almost a year and a half of battle, so fatigue is already heavy. Aware that they are now experiencing “the worst wave”, the professionals appealed to social responsibility to be able to stop contagion and, therefore, income. “This wave catches us exhausted and with some of the staff on vacation. We only ask people to protect themselves and get vaccinated because we have many patients struggling between life and death and some have regretted not having resorted to the injection at the time of admission “, stressed Martín.
Alcaraz assures that the scenario “would have been apocalyptic” if Delta had arrived without vaccines
The forecasts are not optimistic. At least in the short term. «This avalanche is going to have repercussions. It is possible that at the epidemiological level we have reached the peak, but in intensive care this is lived about 15 days later, so I can foresee that we will be under a lot of pressure for another month, “added the specialist from the Insular Hospital.
A few words seconded by Alcaraz, who also remarked that, if the Delta variant had arrived when the vaccination campaign had not yet started, “the current scenario could have been apocalyptic.”
84% Sick with covid
Until yesterday, of the 32 beds in the critical area of the Insular Hospital, 27 were occupied by patients with Covid-19, which translates into 84% of the capacity of the Unit.
50% intubated patients
More than 50% of the patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection who remain in the Insular ICU require intubation in order to breathe. The rest need high-flow ventilation.
According to the health workers, the age of the people who suffer from the condition and come to the ICU is getting smaller and smaller. The predominant age range is between 30 and 50 years old.