Son Llàtzer Hospital Intensive Care Unit.

17-12-2020Youtube: Ultima Hora

There’s a constant drip of patients arriving at Intensive Care Units in the Balearic Islands and experts are warning that it will get a lot worse if infections continue to rise.

The Head of the Son Llàtzer ICU, Dr Gemma Rialp says perhaps people would be more likely to wear masks and follow social distancing restrictions if she explained what life is really like on the Covid ward.

"You will be accompanied by staff at all times, but your relatives will not be able to visit you,” she said. "Some patients at Son Llàtzer Hospital haven't seen their families for more than a month, we've had parents and their children admitted at the same time and we’ve witnessed some tragic situations.”

“If patients are really desperate the staff will offer to contact the family via a tablet, so they’ll be able to see the​ir relatives​, but if they’re intubated they won’t be able to speak,​"​ adds Dr Rialp.

Between 90 and 100% of patients with coronavirus have to have a tracheostomy, which involves creating an opening in the neck so that a tube can be inserted into their windpipe to allow air to enter their lungs.

The patients are dependent on machines and that makes their families extremely anxious,” explains Dr Rialp. “We update them on a daily basis, but we can’t predict how the virus will evolve.

Nine of the 10 ICU beds for Covid patients at Son Llàtzer Hospital are occupied and some people have already been referred to other hospitals so that the ICU stays within capacity limits.

Dr Rialp is urging people to be very careful at Christmas to avoid contracting coronavirus.

"If you want to spend time with your relatives, please respect the rules because relaxing them is directly related to the increase in infections," she explains. "There are times when we will be sharing a table with different groups of people and not wearing a face mask, so security cannot be guaranteed and although we have contingency plans, we fear the hospital will collapse if there’s an excess of patients.”

Dr Rialp also pointed out that “Healthcare Professionals have been working non-stop since March, there are people who haven’t even taken time off and we are all tired, physically and psychologically.

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