As YWN reported on Wednesday, Israel’s hospitals are overcrowded with coronavirus patients, and shortages of ECMO machines, ICU beds and staff means that patients’ needs are not being adequately met, leading to a high rate of deaths. According to a Kan News report on Wednesday evening, a third of COVID patients who require care in the ICU are hospitalized in other wards that cannot sufficiently meet their needs.
Those vaccinated in other wards are attached to ventilators but don’t receive the intensive treatment ICU patients require, including the constant presence of staff. Doctors told Kan that “these patients aren’t receiving adequate care, which adversely affects their condition.”
The main shortage is in the number of staff members – there aren’t enough doctors and nurses and the government isn’t living up to its commitment to the health system to fund more staff members, Kan reported.
Hospital staff members are also frustrated that virtually all seriously ill coronavirus patients are unvaccinated. “All the patients hospitalized in our ICU aren’t vaccinated,” Prof. Arnon Afek, the Associate Director of Sheba Medical Center, said on Army Radio on Wednesday. “We’ll treat all of them of course but it’s hard not to feel frustrated. They could have prevented this – they’re stealing resources from people who were vaccinated.”
Prof. Afek added that “the problem in the wards isn’t a shortage of ECMO machines but a shortage of skilled staff [who know how to operate the machines]. We need more manpower.”
Dr. Erez Birnbaum, Director of Assuta Ashdod Medical Center, confirmed what Prof. Afek said, saying: “The data speaks for itself. The COVID wards are populated with patients who aren’t vaccinated – patients who in practice decided to play Russian roulette with their lives.”
UTJ MK Yaakov Asher responded to the report by stating: “This government denigrates the kedusha of life. Period. In their indifference to the current COVID wave, the heads of the government are conveying to the public that the value of life is no longer paramount in Israeli values.”
Religious Zionist Party MK Ofir Sofer said: “The hospitals are collapsing but the ‘everything is good’ government decided to close its eyes to the danger.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)