June 24, 2021

“There is no free bed more than a few hours”

The situation of emergencies in Madrid hospitals continues to improve, but some ICUs continue at a frenetic pace: “There is no free bed for more than a few hours,” the Head of Intensive Care and Service of the Puerta de Hierro University Hospital tells Efe, Juan José Rubio.

The doctor considers that you cannot “distinguish phases” as if we had overcome the worst of this crisis.

“It is early, they say yes, that the ICUs are better, but I think that we have more desire, because the improvement is minimal,” adds the head of the ICU of Puerta de Hierro, a hospital that has opened its doors to Efe to show their work in this phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

As he explains, in general the ICUs of Madrid hospitals are still “like a week ago.”

“There is still a need for transfers, two, five or ten requests for transfers. Hospitals with a free bed offer it and transfers are made from one ICU to another. A free bed lasts for a few hours, since it is occupied by a patient with plant or one of another hospital that is saturated, “he says.

The head of the Puerta de Hierro ICU reports that the way of working in Intensive Care has changed “radically”, two ICUs are made, one for COVID and the other familiarly called ‘Clean ICU’.

“Now the work is exhausting,” acknowledges this doctor, who explains that the need to equip yourself with PPE (personal protective equipment) makes you “sweat, dehydrate and get your glasses fogged, so you don’t see well.”

In the Community of Madrid there are 5,800 deaths with COVID-19 and 43,877 infected.

According to data provided this Thursday by the Ministry of Health, the number of people admitted to the ICU has been reduced, with 7 fewer patients in intensive care, in total 1,433, while the number of people hospitalized (12,853) falls by 436 patients.

In addition, the 20,000 discharges in the region have been exceeded and there are already more discharges than income.

In the Puerta de Hierro hospital there are usually 20-22 beds in the ICU and another 20 in the surgical ICU, a total of 40-44 beds, and in this crisis they have doubled to 80 beds.

However, both the head of the ICU and the head of the emergency department, Rosa Capilla, agree that “something more important than having more ICU beds is having people who know how to use them,” doctors who know how to work with respirators.

“What is behind these ICU beds is not known to people, they do not know what it means to carry out a single ICU bed, there have been weeks in which having an anesthetist was for you to win the lottery,” says the head of emergencies.

In your case, you do notice the drop in healthcare pressure in the emergency department.

“Since last weekend, fewer patients have come with a COVID-related clinic, it has decreased a little, but patients with other pathologies have been enduring these weeks and are beginning to lose their fear of going to the hospital,” he says.

Therefore, the doctor has asked for calm before the decrease of patients with coronavirus in the emergency room because “it seems that we are celebrating it and it is only a respite, this crisis is far from over.”

One factor that has contributed to alleviating Puerta de Hierro emergencies is telephone monitoring and video calls to care for patients who have been discharged due to coronavirus.

“We have a registry with more than 700 patients that we have followed by phone, we make about 120 or 150 calls a day, and this is income that we have avoided, (patients) who are at home and we follow up on them, which has greatly expedited management” , explained the head of the service.

As for the main reason why emergencies are more alleviated while ICUs continue with a high workload, it is because, according to the doctors, there are many hospitalized patients who complicate the disease.

“It is a very complicated virus that produces a serious infection. There are still more than 400 admitted,” says the Puerta de Hierro emergency manager.


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