So the other day, grandma was taken to the hospital with various medical issues, and treated in the ER. After she was stabilized, she was sent to the ICU, but was unable to get a bed at first because the “ICU was full of H1N1 patients.” I’m was not sure what that means because the term “H1N1” does not distinguish between the two flu events we are currently having, but I later asked and found out that the person who said that meant “Swine Flu.”*
I have no idea if the flu, whatever kind it was, was really the reason for the lack of a bed, and I’m not sure if the lack of space was the issue or if this was a mater of a lack of other resources. She did not wait long and was in the ICU pretty quickly, so it was not much of an issue.
But it did cause me to wonder if we are starting to see an over taxing of health care resources due to Swine Flu, or if the flu was merely being added to the list of reasons given when something expected (like an ICU bed) is not available.
And just as I was wondering that, I saw this: Swine flu and ICU bed use in Canada and Mexico, which reviews recent literature on this question and concludes:
…too many hospitals have prepared by paying lip service to pandemic planning. It’s time to take it seriously. Very, very seriously. Lives hang in the balance.
Read the blog post at Effect Measure to get the detailed analysis.
* We have a little confusion here in Minnesota. Our Republican governor made a speech a while back asking people to not use the term “swine flu” (he was pandering to the swine industry) so a lot of people, especially Republicans, I noticed, use the term “H1N1” instead. It would be nice if the process for settling on terminology used to describe these viral phenomena was somehow formalized by epidemiological experts or officials.