Dutch hospitals preparing for "code black" scenario
It won't be long before hospitals in the Netherlands reach "code black," in which there are not enough beds to treat everyone who needs it. In that case, doctors will have to choose who to treat. Hospitals are already facing such difficult choices, Peter Langenbach, chairman of the board of the Maasstad Hospital in Rotterdam, said to Goedenmorgen Nederland on NPO 1.
On Friday, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said that we are still "very far away" from a code black in hospitals. But that is not the case, according to both Langenback and the association of nurses and caregivers V&VN. The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients continues to rise. At the same time, absenteeism among doctors and nurses is climbing, either because they get Covid-19 themselves or because they are burnt out after nearly two years of crisis.
V&VN is not pleased with the government's policy. "If you look at the growth in the number of infections, you see that the national measures do not go far enough to have an effect. You cannot keep healthcare standing with this weak intervention," V&VN board member Jaap Kappert said on the association's website.
Langenbach agrees with the nurses' association. "We are now ten days after the press conference and about nine days after the measures were announced, and we are still above 20,000 infections and a large number of admissions per day," he said to the radio program. According to him, the current package of measures is "insufficiently coherent, insufficiently communicated, and insufficiently strict." People also don't adhere to it. "That has to do with the fact that we are all fed up with it. The stretch is just gone in society. That can only be brought together by a coherent package of measures that is easier to explain."
Langenbach said hospitals are waiting for Minister De Jonge to declare code black because they are already facing extremely difficult choices. "Those choices are actually formalized in a code black scenario," he said. "So that criteria other than just the medical ones can be used to ultimately choose which patient gets which bed at a time. I speak to ICU nurses and intensivists who say: support us in making these difficult choices, which we already have to make."
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.