Health systems are facing challenges in many countries. The coronavirus pandemic has been around for more than 1 year. In some countries, vaccination is already relieving pressure. However, in many places, the third wave of the epidemic has brought additional difficulties. Hungary is also part of this category where, according to the latest information, the healthcare system has been overloaded.
The number of patients infected with the coronavirus and the number of deaths are at unprecendented heights. The number of people in need of ventilators increased by 25% in one week. The overcrowding of hospitals is well documented. Toxicologist Gábor Zacher said in a radio program that “the health capacity is not only coming to its end, but it is beyond that.” On Monday, the Hungarian Medical Chamber published a warning, saying that the majority of hospital wards already operate a COVID unit.
The load in the intensive care units was enormous, and the operating rooms were shut down in many places to accommodate coronavirus patients.
The president of the Hungarian Medical Chamber believes that the workload of hospitals also depends on the discipline of the population. According to the latest regulation of the National Hospital Directorate-General, GPs can also be placed in Covid care.
Government spokesman Gergely Gulyás said at the Government Info on Thursday that 1,784 people were in the intensive care units. This is also interesting because the number of patients in the intensive care unit has not been made public before. The figure of 1,784 people is the number of only those who are in the intensive care unit due to the coronavirus. In addition, Portfolio.hu assumes that there may be another 500-550 people in the intensive care unit for other reasons.
The capacity of the intensive care unit does not depend primarily on the beds but on the number of nurses. If a nurse has 2 patients and works an average of 8 hours, care is provided for about 1,200 to 1,330 patients. This number can be further increased if a nurse has 3 or more patients or if the nurse works 12 hours instead of 8. Thus, it is possible to take care of up to 2,700 people simultaneously in Hungary. However, this reduces the quality of care.
Gergely Gulyás did not give an answer regarding how full Covid units are.
Thus, the exact load is unknown. He said, however, that there are 1,168 free beds with a ventilator and 10,441 beds without a ventilator.
It is important to highlight that the more patients there are in the hospital ward, the worse the patients’ chances are. “Even if there are 50 intensive beds in an intensive care unit, but there is enough staff for only 15 patients, each extra patient we add to the remaining 35 beds will reduce the chances of the 15 patients already treated. As long as there is enough staff for 15 people, we can say that we have given 15 people a 30 per cent chance of survival, but we will take an additional 2-3 per cent from the existing ones whenever a patient is admitted. We can fill all 50 beds with patients, only then will the result be that 50 patients will lie on 50 beds with a 2-3 per cent chance of survival,” explained Ágnes Daróczy-Gaál, vice-president of the Hungarian Medical Union.
The third wave of the epidemic is not slowing down yet. Examining the data, it seems quite unrealistic that the Hungarian government would ease restrictions in mid-April. Opening at Easter is almost impossible. There are indications that the reopening of schools could be one of the first steps in the opening plan.