Doctors talk about collapse due to respiratory viruses, but Salyut denies this

Patients lying in hallways, patients with severe symptoms being treated in a chair, crowded bays holding up to five people, ambulances queuing outside ambulance doors to drop off or pick up users, waits of up to eight, ten or more hours to receive medical care help or register for entry to the plant…

This is a quick photo that can be seen in the last few hours, according to medical workers, in hospitals such as the Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa (100% public organization) and other centers – Hospital del Mar, Bellvitge, Moisès Broggi, Taulí… -, Also collapsed, according to sources, as admissions and visits of patients due to respiratory infections and viruses such as influenza or covid are increasing.

Patients are treated in chairs, in boxes of five people, days before admission… the reality of Terrassa Hospital

The Ministry of Health is removing a lot of ink from this drawing and ensuring that the current reality in hospitals and primary health centers is not as chaotic as some experts make it out to be. “There is no collapse,” reiterates Francesc Xavier Jimenez, director of the National Emergency Plan of Catalonia (Planuc). “It is true that there is much more activity in the centers and that 45% of all viral infections treated are influenza, but the system is prepared for such a situation,” assures Jimenez.

Statements that are far from the perception of medical workers at the bottom of the canyon. “What we are experiencing in the last few hours is reminiscent of the first phase of the Covid pandemic,” says Xavier Lleonart, emergency doctor at Terrassa Hospital and secretary general of the Metges de Catalunya. Deterioration in health, “which is not very serious because it is widespread and affects other centers,” adds Dr. Lleonart. And what hurts this doctor the most is that “the health authorities in Catalonia do not assume or acknowledge the problem; This position only shows that the administration has normalized the fact that a patient lies in the hallway for hours with his dignity torn, or that doctors quit due to stress.”

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Celeste Lopez

MADRID, 03/01/2024.  – Entrance to the Abrantes Medical Center in the Carabanchel neighborhood of Madrid, this Tuesday.  The capital's clinics are overloaded due to overcrowding in emergency hospitals and a lack of beds due to the flu epidemic.  EFE/Marshal

This conflicting view of the current reality in medical centers due to respiratory infections also has its own war figures. Health sources reveal Vanguard that hospitals such as Moises Broggi (San Joan Despi) saw peaks of “up to 205 patients in the emergency department in one day.” Some of these patients waited up to seven days for hospitalization. Jimenez justifies those waits (he doesn’t admit they’re that long) by saying that now 60% of cases coming to the emergency room for respiratory infections are not serious. “That’s why we need to tackle the priorities first,” he emphasizes.

At the Terrassa Hospital, according to the secretary of the Metges de Catalunya, “we had up to 52 patients without a room in our emergency department before admission. Accommodating such patients means taking up two floors of the center.” Saturation here has forced patients to be referred to other medical centers.

Francisco Xavier Jimenez, in turn, gives less alarming figures. This senior health official claims that the incidence of patients in Catalan hospitals has increased by 10% over the past month due to outbreaks of flu and Covid. And he adds that in recent days the increase in patients “has ranged from 2% to 3%.” Therefore, Jimenez reiterates that health indicators during respiratory infections are “moving within the expected range.”

Xavier Leonard does not share this. “We are oversaturated because the administration continues to not do its homework. And now, with emergencies and primary schools overcrowded, we will once again have to resort to heroic measures because there is no time to provide the system with additional resources or staff.” Lorena, secretary of the Infermeres de Catalunya, shares this point. At the Les Corts CAP clinic where he works, up to 80 patients were treated in one morning. “This is outrageous, professionals are being asked to put in extra effort that cannot be achieved,” he criticizes.

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Hospital of Tarragona Ioann XXIII, emergency department.

On the other hand, Lleonart shows that the tensions that have arisen among professionals due to what he calls the “collapse of the system” are already bearing their first fruits. “We started hearing that a lot of doctors were leaving because of stress,” he says. Francesc Xavier Jimenez admits that these staff are absent, but explains this as victims of the flu or covid infection in the workplace. Even here the opposite poles of the problem do not coincide. Lorena of Infermeres de Catalunya regrets that the last person to suffer from “this blatant lack of foresight” is the patient, “who then pays for it with the medical professionals who are in the front row. The discomfort of a sick person never reaches the politician directly.”

What everyone agrees on is that the peak in visits and revenue has not yet arrived. The emergency and primary health care situation is expected to become more difficult in the coming days. This upward trend is expected to reverse on January 15th or 20th. And there is also the coincidence that vaccination campaigns have failed this fall and winter.

Doctors: masks in centers

The Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (semFYC) yesterday proposed reinstating the use of mandatory masks in primary health care centers to reduce the spread of influenza, covid and other respiratory diseases. semFYC advocates for strengthening protective measures to prevent the transmission of respiratory viruses to people with multiple pathologies and chronic illnesses, and also advocates for the reintroduction of segregated rooms in health centers, the provision of hydroalcoholic gels and measures to ventilate waiting rooms. In addition, he asks health authorities to raise awareness among the public about the correct use of health services and not to seek them if medical attention is not required.

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Anthony Lopez Tovar

First day without mandatory wearing of masks on public transport.  People with and without masks

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