Hanoi hospitals cope with multiple disease outbreaks among children

By Chi Le, Le Nga   October 5, 2022 | 04:33 pm PT
Hanoi hospitals cope with multiple disease outbreaks among children
Extra beds are added to a hospital room at the Thanh Nhan Hospital in Hanoi due to the sheer number of patients. Photo by VnExpress/Chi Le
Doctors in Hanoi hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of child patients coming with respiratory diseases as the season changes.

Xuan, who lives in Hai Ba Trung District, went to Thanh Nhan Hospital on Monday and was surprised to see it packed with child patients and their families everywhere from the emergency room to individual wards.

Her child had bronchitis and a fever that has not subsided for five days, and had to wait for five hours before an empty bed became available.

She said: "Our family split in three directions: one waiting for an empty bed at the Pediatric Hospital, another looking for private facilities and the other for other public hospitals. Finally, Thanh Nhan Hospital was willing to take us in."

Doctors at Thanh Nhan have had to stand by 24/7 since in a single night 20 children could have to be rushed to emergency rooms due to dengue fever, bronchitis or pneumonia.

All of them are on the rise in Hanoi due to the season change and the fact that children are returning to school.

Meanwhile, at the Duc Giang General Hospital, 1,600-1,800 child patients have been coming every day for the past two weeks, causing it ICUs to always be full. In normal times it gets 1,000-1,200 children a day.

The influx has forced the hospital to deploy extra personnel. Each doctor attends to around 60 child patients a day on average, nearly twice the usual number.

Hoang Van Ket, head of the pediatric ICU, said the number of child patients is around 1.5 times the number of beds available, and so more had to be brought in.

The hospital follows the protocols set by the health ministry to prevent cross infection.

Doctors said several infectious diseases are prevalent now, especially among children.

At Duc Giang, for instance, 20 children have dengue fever, some with worrying symptoms, and others with the flu and diarrhea.

According to the Hanoi Center for Disease Control, the city has had over 800 new cases of dengue fever in the past week, taking the total number of cases this year to over 4,700, 3.8 times the incidence at this time last year.

Five people have died so far.

Most notably, there is an adenovirus outbreak, with around 2,000 patients in Hanoi alone as of Monday. Three people have died.

Experts say the number of infections this year is high, leading to more children being admitted to hospitals.

St. Paul Hospital has received 84 cases so far.

The National Children's Hospital is treating around 300 cases, 40 of them severe. Those with compromised immune systems and underlying conditions could also get pneumonia and respiratory failure if infected.

To cope with the outbreak, the health ministry and city health department have called on hospitals to keep beds and medicines on hand. The National Children's Hospital said it has 300 beds for adenovirus patients.

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