February 1, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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RTV Maastricht – Maastricht’s pediatric intensive care department is almost complete

In the only pediatric intensive care center (IC) of UMC + in Maastricht in Limburg, almost all beds are full. This reports L1. Just like on a national level, pediatric wards are currently experiencing a peak due to the RS virus in particular. Of the eight IC beds available at MUMC+, six are currently in operation.

“We are very busy, there are many children with RS virus infection or respiratory infections, but we just made it through,” said MUMC+ Children’s Department Chair and Pediatrics Professor Gertjan Dresen.

An emergency meeting was held Tuesday evening as medical professionals from all seven National University Medical Centers (UMCs) discuss further action. Last week, MUMC+ decided to cancel non-emergency operations. The consultation showed that measures such as transferring patients to other pediatric wards (IC) in the country or curtailing planned care would be taken if necessary. “If it meant keeping the IC bed free by canceling an operation, we’d do it. But we haven’t created an entirely new package of measures,” Driessen said.

Although all Dutch UMCs are at maximum capacity, it is still manageable, according to Driessen, and not unlike the years before the pandemic. Since everyone is less exposed to the virus since Corona, including children, the resistance is less. Previously, ICs in children’s wards already had to deal with a rush of young patients due to virus infections. “They’re part of that time of year. So every year there’s a consultation among university hospitals to see how pressure can be best distributed and regulated,” says Dressen.

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One in every thousand babies infected with RS ends up in the intensive care unit due to complications. There are a total of 100 pediatric IC beds in the Netherlands. According to Dressen, whether this is not on the downside is therefore a valid question. He also states that it is not just about the number of physical beds. Every bed needs hands and feet in the form of a staff that can take care of patients. In the absence of staff, “the family must be closed.” There is currently a nursing shortage, due to pressure from Corona as staff have been deployed to other departments, but also due to absenteeism from the same viruses. So it’s actually a political debate.”