In a tense meeting with Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash on Sunday, hospital directors warned that their hospitals are nearing a state of total collapse.
The directors said that the number of coronavirus patients attached to ECMO machines is increasing and the demand is beginning to outstrip the supply. Additionally, “the medical staffers are at a breaking point, they’re working around the clock,” they said.
Professor Sigal Sviri Sarussi, the head of the COVID intensive care unit at Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem, said: “The vast majority of critically and seriously ill patients are unvaccinated. The disease quickly deteriorates to a need for respiratory support or ventilation among the unvaccinated, and I’m positive that if they had just gotten vaccinated as they should have, they wouldn’t have become so seriously ill, especially the younger patients.”
“Anyone with eyes in their head understands that hospitals today are unprepared for a continued increase in morbidity, and serious morbidity in particular. There aren’t enough beds, there aren’t enough ECMO machines, and there isn’t enough medical staff. This serious shortage costs lives and leads to a very high number of deaths every day.”
“It’s not too late to recalibrate and allocate all of the resources to the health system, even if it demands additional adjustments to the state budget, which hasn’t yet been finalized by the Knesset. We must not forget the dead and harden our hearts to patients.”
Another hospital director said: “The standard of care we provide patients is beginning to decline. We’ve reached a point where we’re starting to prioritize who gets attached to the ECMO machines, and the main concern is that we will need to decide between the elderly man who was vaccinated or the young person that wasn’t vaccinated.”
The director of Rambam Medical Center, Dr. Michael Halbertal, said: “One out of every five coronavirus patients at Rambam dies – a 20% mortality rate. If it wasn’t for this mortality rate, we would be overflowing with patients. Over the weekend, we were pressured to accept a patient in need of an ECMO machine but we had to refuse since we’ve run out of machines.”
Coronavirus czar Prof. Salman Zarka said: “The situation isn’t good. We never imagined that the infection rate would remain as high as it is today. The infection rate is increasing and our ability to encourage people to vaccinate is beginning to be limited. We have to limit gatherings – urgently.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)