April 18, 2024

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Medical system is on the verge of collapse due to seven wave of COVID-19 in Japan

Medical system is on the verge of collapse due to seven wave of COVID-19 in Japan


Medical system is on the verge of collapse due to seven wave of COVID-19 in Japan.


Kyoto Second Red Cross Hospital Report: Abandoning acceptance of patients

The “seventh wave” of the COVID-19  is spreading at an unprecedented speed, causing a strain on emergency medical care.

What is happening in the medical field? We visited Kyoto Second Red Cross Hospital (Kamigyo Ward), which is responsible for the most advanced tertiary emergency care. (Shinya Uemura)



Medical system is on the verge of collapse due to seven wave of COVID-19 in Japan.Nurses rushed back and forth in the COVID-19 ward (in Kamigyo COVID-19 Ward)



■ Mild/severe; meaningless

The fourth floor is the COVID-19 ward. Most of the patients seen through the glass are elderly and many are bedridden.

Nurses put on and take off protective clothing and carefully wipe medical equipment with alcohol each time they enter or leave a room.

“Even though the number of positive people has increased so much, what we are doing is exactly the same as the first wave.” The color of fatigue is blurred on the expression.


As of August 25, when the interview was conducted, there were 17 hospitalized COVID-19-positive patients. The hospital beds reserved for the COVID-19virus are full, with more than 20 people on some days.


Many of them are so-called “mild patients”, but the impression they receive from their words is different from the reality.

Dr. Hiromichi Narumiya, 48, deputy head of the emergency department, said that the distinction between “mild and severe” doesn’t make much sense.

Even if the symptoms of the COVID-19 itself are mild, there are many cases where chronic diseases such as aspiration pneumonia and heart failure have worsened and are between life and death. This is one of the reasons why so many people die every day across the country.

She emphasizes, “It is necessary to examine the whole person, not just COVID-19.”


She showed me the operation status of the hospital bed on the computer screen. There are no empty rooms at all.

However, “I don’t think they will be emotionally accepted if they put a coughing patient who has just come out of isolation in the room next to someone who is hospitalized with a leg injury,” she said.

In addition, there are many elderly people who have lost their physical strength, and it is extremely rare for them to be discharged after 10 days.

Some people have been hospitalized for a long time since the end of July, and the rotation of the limited bed is very bad.


The occupancy rate of hospital beds in the prefecture has been hovering around 60%, but officials at multiple hospitals agree that “actually, it’s already saturated.”



■ Critical situation

“Appropriate medical care at the right time.” For this reason, rapid transportation is essential.

However, in the 7th wave, there are many cases where we have to refuse the carrier, and that is no longer the case.


According to the Kyoto Municipal Fire Department, 427 emergency dispatches were made on July 25, a record high for a single day.

In the week since that day, a record 185 cases (of which 67 are suspected of being infected with the  COVID-19 virus) have been reported, in which people who called 119 were unable to find a transport destination immediately.

The same trend continues in August.


The Second Red Cross Hospital also receives requests to accept seven or eight COVID-19virus patients on many days through the inpatient medical control center. In addition, more than 30 requests for transport by ambulance can be made each day.

They accept more than a dozen people who have been rejected, as well as people who have been brought in from Osaka and Hyogo, but there are times when they have no choice but to refuse due to bed availability.


The severity of the ambulance transportation system has been pointed out since before the start of the COVID-19 disaster, and the current situation is critical with the addition of transportation due to suspected COVID-19.

The City Fire Department recommends using the Emergency Relief Center Kyoto (#7119) when in doubt about whether to call an ambulance, but there are many cases where people wish they had called sooner. We are also struggling with how to disseminate information.




■ “Lend me your strength”

On August 15, medical institutions in the prefecture, including the hospital, issued an unusual message to the citizens of the prefecture on their website.


<The spread of infection has reached a disaster level. In particular, it can be said that emergency medical care has already collapsed.


<Medical care other than COVID-19 has been greatly affected, and surgery and hospitalization have been suspended or postponed>


In addition, he called on people to avoid going out unnecessarily and to wear a mask when talking.

There was some discussion among the people involved in the plan, as it called for citizens to refrain from doing so, but in the end they all agreed that they had no choice but to ask for their cooperation.


Dr. Narumiya said. “Each patient is examined at the right time. In the past two and a half years, we have broken down such an obvious environment.

There is also reflection that the seventh wave was more than expected and preparations were insufficient. But now, Please lend me a little strength.”







Medical system is on the verge of collapse due to seven wave of COVID-19 in Japan.

(source:internet, reference only)

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