Hanoi hospitals overloaded with surge in dengue fever patients

By Le Nga, Chi Le   November 14, 2022 | 04:25 pm PT
Hanoi hospitals overloaded with surge in dengue fever patients
A doctor takes care of a dengue fever patient as she shares a bed of another patient at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, November 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Dengue fever patients are having to share hospital beds or return home and await their turn to be hospitalized as Hanoi sees a surge in the mosquito-borne disease.

The Thanh Nhan General Hospital in Hai Ba Trung District is currently treating 250 dengue fever patients.

Doctor Nguyen Thu Huong said the number of dengue patients has "jumped" since early October, filling up all beds in all departments designated to treat the disease.

"Recently, since there are just too many patients coming at the same time, we've had to send home several cases whose symptoms are not serious yet and make appointments to admit them later," said Huong.

Hong, a 50-year-old patient, said she’s been hospitalized for over a week now.

After being taken to the Thanh Nhan hospital, she had to wait for almost four hours in the emergency room as there was no bed for her.

"But I was lucky to get admitted, eventually. There are many others who had to go back home and wait."

The tropical disease center at the Bach Mai Hospital, the biggest medical facility for the whole northern region, is also seeing a significant increase in dengue fever patients.

As many as six beds are being crammed into 15 sq.m rooms, and each bed is often serving two patients.

Departments designated to treat other types of disease have had to share their beds with dengue patients.

Hang, 27, was admitted to Bach Mai after she suffered bleeding gums and ran a high fever for three days in a row.

However, after just one day in the hospital, she couldn’t wait to be discharged as the overload exhausted her.

"My only wish is that I recover fast and go home soon. I cannot stand lying in the same bed with others like this," she said.

Doctor Do Duy Cuong, director of the tropical disease center, said the center’s condition has degraded and it lacks medical equipment, requiring patients to wait for longer than needed to get test results.

The National Hospital for Tropical Disease, Vietnam’s leading hospital for treating infectious diseases, has been admitting 10-20 dengue fever patients per day in recent days.

There have been days when more than half the patients treated at the hospital's Emergency Department are dengue fever cases.

Pham Van Phuc, deputy head of the Resuscitation Department, said the number of severe dengue cases has increased faster in recent times.

"Patients getting themselves examined and admitted to hospitals soon are more likely to be able to avoid getting seriously ill and vice versa," he said.

In most dengue fever deaths, patients reach the hospital too late to be saved.

In order to prevent the disease from developing serious complications, people should have their health checked as soon as possible if they suffer from a fever for over two days. At that stage patients can still be treated at home under doctors’ supervision.

Early diagnosis can prevent the condition from getting worse and requiring hospitalization, thereby avoiding the overload at hospitals.

According to the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (CDC), the city has recorded more than 10,700 dengue fever cases so far this year, up 3.5 times against the same period last year. The figure includes more than 1,300 cases detected between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3.

But the CDC said the disease has yet to reach its peak in the city and more cases should be expected by this month’s end.

Vietnam has been trying to find an effective way to tackle dengue fever, one of the biggest killers among 28 common infectious diseases. The only vaccine for it available globally is not recommended for people who have not had dengue before.

The World Health Organization says vector control is the key strategy to prevent widespread transmission of the dengue virus.

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