Dr Geert Meyfroidt: "The most unfortunate thing is that the number of patients in intensive care will continue to rise for some time yet”

The second wave of the novel coronavirus is putting great strain on intensive care units at hospitals across Belgium. Dr Geert Meyfroidt is an intensive care consultant at Leuven University Hospital (UZ Leuven) in Flemish Brabant. Dr Meyfroidt told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ that the record number of COVID-19 patients that are currently receiving treatment on the intensive care wards of the country's hospitals is something that had been expected given the intensity of the second wave of the pandemic. He added that patient numbers will continue to rise for some time yet. 

"The most unfortunate thing is that it will continue to rise. We are already heading towards exceeding normal capacity levels in intensive care. The expectation is that it will continue to rise until next week. We are going to end up very high. We hope that we can remain under the capacity of the sum of normal and extra beds that have been created. However, this is far from certain”.   

Dr Meyfroidt added that "We are already no longer working according to standard procedures”. We have reserved several beds that are not usually used for intensive care with staff that aren’t specialised intensive care doctors and nurses. This is very difficult and challenging for us to do”.

Dr Meyfroidt was keen to stress that all available staff are currently working. “We are already having to be creative. Fourth year students are helping, part-time staff, full-time staff, those that took early retirement have come back, but a time will come that that our options will have become exhausted. Then we will have no choice other than to work below the norms that we usually apply”. 

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