Catastrophe in care in German children's hospitals

Catastrophe in care in German children’s hospitals

A wave of infections in Germany is pushing hospitals and their staff over the edge. Adding to the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, now in its third year, seasonal illnesses due to influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have added to the health care burden. Children’s hospitals, in particular, are being pushed to the wall and can no longer cope with the current wave of RSV infections.

Charité Hospital Health Skyscraper [Photo by Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0]

The dire situation is the result of the government’s disastrous healthcare and pandemic policies. Its rigorous policy of mass infection, recently pushed to the extreme with the lifting of the most minimal protective measures – such as the wearing of masks in public spaces and the compulsory isolation of infected people – as well as the opening of schools and nurseries without any mitigation measures, intensified seasonal infections and greatly increased the risk of multiple re-infections. This particularly affects children.

RSV is a virus that affects the upper and lower respiratory tract. In principle, this disease can be contracted at any age, but it is one of the most common pathogens in infants and young children. The incidence of RSV disease worldwide is 48.5 cases and 5.6 severe cases per 1,000 children in the first year of life.

Children, as well as adults with immune deficiency or pre-existing lung and heart conditions, are particularly affected by severe developments. Over the past few weeks, doctors and health experts have warned of a sharp rise in RSV infections in children. As a rule, the cold season does not begin until the beginning of December. The peak of the wave of infection is therefore yet to come.

The situation in children’s hospitals has been dire for years and continues to worsen. A major problem is the lack of personnel on the one hand and the lack of intensive care beds in children’s hospitals on the other. Michael Sasse, Senior Physician Responsible for Pediatric Intensive Care at Hanover Medical School, summed up the deadly consequences saying: “Children are dying because we can’t take care of them.

A survey conducted at the end of November by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) described the situation as follows: “Out of 110 children’s hospitals, 43 establishments no longer had a single free bed in the regular duty. A total of only 83 vacant beds remain in pediatric intensive care units across Germany, or 0.75 vacant beds per hospital.

According to the survey, one in two out of 130 children’s hospitals said they had been unable to admit at least one child in the past 24 hours following a request from the ambulance service or the service emergencies. As a result, seriously ill children have had to seek out available intensive care beds at other children’s hospitals, traveling long distances and wasting vital treatment time.

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