Highly stressed systems
The professionals of the emergency services have been in the first line in the fight against the virus, having to reorganize the services to give the best assistance to patients, since, since the pandemic began, more than 269,000 people have needed hospitalization and more than 23,000 have had to be admitted to intensive care units (ICU). In almost all hospitals, double circuits have had to be established. In this way, as Vázquez assures, “it works with a circuit that we call dirty, respiratory or isolation, where patients with a suspected COVID clinic enter. And, on the other hand, with a clean one, which is where the sick who are not infected come in. ” A new way of working that, according to the president of SEMES, “it means much more wear and tear for templates that are already fair in many autonomous communities”.
It is precisely this scarcity of resources that has most limited assistance during the pandemic. Because, in addition to the burden caused by the disease, these services have to continue attending other types of serious emergencies. “It is being complex and we are taking it as best we can, in some communities with some difficulty and others more comfortable, but in general with a lot of burden,” says Vázquez.
Professionals from infectious disease units have also been one of the groups most involved in the fight against COVID-19. This is how María del Carmen Fariñas, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit – which won one of the Best in Class 2020 awards – at the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital, in Cantabria, explains it. “Later more services were added because it was impossible to assume everything on our part, but from the first moment they were approached and treated with the best possible care.” And they have had to do it while continuing to provide the best assistance to other infectious diseases. Hard work that “translates into the fatigue of professionals, after a year with an extraordinary involvement”, admits this specialist.
An implication that in certain aspects is not rewarded, since both emergency and infectious professionals do not yet have specialty recognition. A few months ago, the then Minister of Health Salvador Illa, assured that both professionals would obtain this new qualification, but they are still waiting. “There are very few countries in all of Europe that do not have it. I think it is a good time for Spain to join in, ”says Fariñas.
In the same vein, the president of the Spanish Society of Emergency and Emergency Medicine states: “This is a historical demand of our society. Spain and Portugal are the only countries in Europe where there is no training in emergencies and emergencies. As we continue in this dynamic, our services will end up running out ”.
As a respiratory disease, COVID-19 has also had a strong impact on the pulmonology services of hospitals. Carlos A. Jiménez-Ruiz, president of the Spanish Society of the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR), highlights the magnificent work done by all the pulmonologists, nurses and respiratory physiotherapists that make up this specialty. “This group has known how to fulfill its commitments by providing the best healthcare to its patients, despite the scarce knowledge of the disease, the lack of human and material resources available, the shortage of PPE and the risk of contracting a disease. serious illness that they could transmit to their families and relatives ”, he applauds.