Sunday, January 16

The intensive care unit manager at OUS: No immediate light in the tunnel

– We had an intensive increase during the last half of November, and we have actually been working on it ever since.

This is what the head of the Emergency Department at Oslo University Hospital (OUS), Øyvind Skraastad, told TV 2 on Friday morning.

He believes that the increase in omicron infection does not have a significant effect on the need for intensive care. Although fewer need intensive care than with the delta variant, higher infection rates mean that the need for intensive care is currently almost the same.

– We do not see any light at the end of that tunnel immediately, Skraastad says.

30 percent with covid-19

Skraastad states that corona patients make up approximately 30 per cent of the beds in the intensive care unit.

– There is quite a significant use of resources around those patients, because they are the worst patients we have in health care, says Skraastad.

SIGNIFICANT RESOURCE USE: Øyvind Skraastad, head of the Emergency Department at OUS, says that corona patients require significant resource use. Nevertheless, he believes the intensive capacity has been too small for a long time. Photo: Frode Sunde / TV 2

He describes the increase in intensive care patients as a long tail, and not a pointed top. Thus, it may take time before you see a decline.

– The challenge ahead will be to complete the intensive care unit we have been working on for several weeks, and to ensure that other hospitals do not kneel, he believes.

Not just a pandemic problem

The intensive care manager believes that the capacity of Norwegian intensive care units is too small. However, he believes that problem was present even before the corona pandemic.

– There is actually very little opportunity to take peaks à la pandemic or other strains, without it having any kind of consequence for the hospital, Skraastad says.

He states that OUS now has 20 percent less surgical activity than usual, as a result of the intensive care load at the hospital.

– This means that there are hundreds of patients who have not been operated on during that period until Christmas.

– Need more beds

– The biggest challenge here and now is to finish the intensive care unit we have been working on for several weeks, and to make sure that other hospitals do not kneel, says Skraastad.

He believes immediate measures are needed to strengthen the intensive care units.

– I need a few more beds right now, and then I think I have the whole of hospital Norway with me.

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