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Emergency room under siege, ‘thousands await hospitalization’ – Healthcare

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Emergency room under siege, ‘thousands await hospitalization’ – Healthcare

Emergency Departments Across Italy Under Siege

The holiday season has taken a toll on the Emergency Departments (ED) across Italy, with hospitals under siege and patients experiencing worryingly long waiting times for hospitalization. Fabio De Iaco, president of the Italian Society of Emergency Medicine (Simeu), has sounded the alarm, providing a grim overview of the situation.

“In Lazio alone, there are currently over 1,100 patients awaiting admission to hospital; 500 in Piedmont, while in Lombardy ordinary hospitalizations were suspended due to overcrowding,” De Iaco explained to ANSA. “At a national level, we are recording very strong pressure on all the emergency rooms and in various regions, plans against overcrowding by hospitals and healthcare companies have been activated.”

De Iaco further highlighted the chronic insufficiency of hospital beds, which has led to the situation where beds are being taken away from other specialties such as surgery. “The problem, obviously, cannot be solved in this way,” he stated.

The president also warned that the Christmas holidays have put an immense strain on the healthcare system, with many emergency room doctors unable to rest during the festive season. “Holidays are a luxury,” De Iaco emphasized.

Mario Balzanelli, president of the Italian Society of System 118 (Sis 118), also reported a sharp increase in requests for help to 118 due to Covid and flu-related respiratory complications. “We are seeing an increase in cases of flu with strong respiratory demands, as well as an alarming situation of congestion and the phenomenon of ‘barellopoli’: the ambulances arrive at the hospitals but cannot leave the patients there due to lack of space,” Balzanelli explained.

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The situation is further compounded by an increase in calls for help for injuries from firecrackers and stray bullets during the New Year, leading to an increase in injuries and hospitalizations.

In the face of this critical situation, Balzanelli emphasized the need to reopen or strengthen the intermediate structures of the 118 first intervention points, which would help avoid the assault on the ambulances and provide better care for patients.

As the healthcare system in Italy continues to grapple with the challenges posed by the holiday season and the ongoing pandemic, urgent measures are needed to alleviate the strain on emergency departments and ensure the timely and efficient care of patients.

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