Children’s wards fuller due to the advance of RS virus and flu, but it is ‘doable’

It is busy in the children’s wards of Drenthe hospitals, but that is not exceptional for these winter months when the RS virus and the flu are emerging.

“We are dealing with a peak, the department is full here,” reports a spokesperson for Treant Zorggroep, with hospitals in Emmen, Hoogeveen and Stadskanaal. “But that is the case every year. Sometimes the peak is in December, and sometimes in January. We are used to it.”

Treant still has enough beds to admit new, young patients. And if that doesn’t work, they can go to other hospitals in the Northern Netherlands. The mutual cooperation is good, says Treant.

The Wilhelmina Hospital Assen (WZA) also thinks it is ‘doable’ at the moment. “It doesn’t overflow. Every now and then we have peaks, but at the moment there are no such peaks.”

Both the WZA and Treant do not have a pediatric intensive care unit. The closest department is in the UMCG in Groningen. There, the number of IC beds has been expanded from sixteen to twenty. More places cannot be created. “One of the causes is the RS virus, but other viruses and a bacteria that are floating around are also playing tricks on us,” says the hospital at RTV North.

Hospital Isala in Meppel does not receive sick children, who are admitted to Zwolle. But there are Drenthe patients among them. “We are busy here, comparable in the years before the outbreak of the corona virus. But it is doable,” says a spokesperson. “Although we don’t know how the situation will develop further.”

The professional association of Nurses & Caregivers in the Netherlands warned yesterday that all intensive care units for children are ‘completely full’ and that a ‘dramatic scenario’ is unfolding. Today there will be emergency consultations between the seven university hospitals.

According to K├íroly Illy, of the Dutch Pediatric Association, there is no panic. According to the pediatrician, the situation is not unusual for the RS season. The busyness on the children’s ICs is currently comparable to that in 2018 and 2019. The only special thing is that the peak normally takes place in January, now already in December. “But there are enough beds so far. We can handle it,” he says to the ANP.