Amsterdam (Dagbladet): The epidemic in the Netherlands is now one of the worst in the world. The number continues to rise, which has led to many severe restrictions on the population.
– The virus is everywhere, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a news conference on Friday last week.
In the last two weeks alone, there have been 1285 reported cases per 100,000 people in the country, while there are 475 cases in Norway, according to statistics. Johns Hopkins University.
Hospitals now face many new challenges and are preparing for the worst possible situation – not everyone with a serious illness will have enough beds.
– Yes, I think it’s going to get worse as the infection rate continues to rise, says Harvard Dune Jorstad, 41, a cardiologist at the University Hospital in Amsterdam, who is a doctor.
– Arrows in the wrong direction
The senior official says there are still waiting lists closed before the hospital, for example, there are patients in risk groups waiting for a new heart valve.
– We’ve worked 110 percent to get rid of this waiting list, but now the arrows are going in the wrong direction again, says Dune Jorstadt.
The senior officer completed his medical studies in Amsterdam and has worked as a physician in the Netherlands for the past 15 years. So, he is well aware of how the development has been through recent hospitalization and chronic infections.
– The reserve capacity of those working in the health care system is very low. Especially for nurses. They worked hard in the past and are now working hard again. There is a limit to how much you can achieve without compromising your own health.
The drastic measures introduced on Saturday last week lasted a week longer than previously recommended by the country’s epidemic control authorities.
Docblade speaks on the phone to the cardiologist because the doctor was asked to take a few days off after a long period of intense work. But also so that he may be ready for the time to come.
– Everyone is very worried about what this winter will be like, he tells Dockbladet.
QR code generates anger
On September 25, the government introduced the Vaccine Passport. The QR code indicates whether you have been vaccinated, have undergone coronary heart disease, or recently had a negative coronary test. It should now be displayed for entry into restaurants, cafes or bars.
Since Saturday last week, no one should come home more than four people, non-essential shops should be closed at 18.00 and restaurants and cafes at 20.00.
The Norwegian national team also had to play for empty stands in the match against the Netherlands because they were no longer allowed with spectators at sporting events.
The top official says the new measures have led to major reactions.
– I had angry and aggressive patients. Because they chose not to be vaccinated, they feel that their lives are too short by the measures, says Tune Jorstadt.
The cardiologist says that many people want to return to their normal lives and thus express their frustration with the unvaccinated population. The higher the infectious pressure the more it leads to controls for the whole population, and the pessimistic reactions to the measures are new compared to last year’s situation.
– I have never experienced as much anger over health professionals as I do now. A year ago, there was a lot of unity among the people and everyone wanted to help each other to get here together, says the boss.
– Whole hospitals
From the relatively constant epidemic pressure of summer, Dune Jorstadt Hospital is now preparing for a new wave of the future.
– Unfortunately with the exception of the 100 percent vaccination rate that we have not reached here, we would have known what to do if we knew what the best ways to prevent this were. But it is very difficult to find the right balance in all other activities, says the cardiologist.
He did not think the current shutdown would have a major impact on the development of the disease in the future. If you strike for three weeks, according to the boss, it takes almost four weeks to assess what the outcome was.
Therefore, he thinks a difficult winter will come to the country. He thinks everyone is afraid that the intensive care units will be overcrowded and that a curfew order will be issued like last winter.
– Some hospitals in the country, for example in the south, were already overcrowded and had to cancel planned operations. They cannot accept more corona patients because they do not have time for others. This is already difficult, says Tune Jorstadt.
This week, doctors at the hospital were told to cancel all physical appointments. Also, all employees must wear the mask again.
The senior officer describes the increasing pressure with the long and agitated guards:
– We do not have the stock you usually have in hospitals because all the other departments are busy.
– Has worked “incessantly”
The next step, however, is to recruit staff from other departments to employ the capacity of the intensive care unit.
Although the health sector is going through many waves, there is one thing that worries top officials.
– Nurses and doctors who have worked “non-stop” throughout this period are starting to get tired. For many, it feels pointless now that they are entering a new round, which is a bigger problem than we had a year and a half ago, says Tune Jorstad.
One of those who actually noticed the heavy work pressure on the body was Dutch Bernard Johnson (29), a kidney surgeon at a university hospital in Amsterdam.
After a long day’s work, the surgeon greets DocBlade at the reception in fluent Norwegian. In the eastern part of Amsterdam, he lives with his Norwegian girlfriend Kristin Stensland (29).
Work continuously for 20 days
The number of corona infections in the Netherlands does not exceed the number of victims. Therefore, the surgeon is overwhelmed with all the patients whose surgery was canceled and postponed during the previous waves.
– The previous wave was high because it was so dangerous that no one was vaccinated. However, we are in a bad situation right now, says Johnson.
If enrollment increases again, most of the evidence will be sent to work with Covid patients, which will lead to changes and cancellations for operating rooms and the doctors who work there.
During the first closure, Johnson worked with corona patients, not much in treatment, but in the first aid and intensive care unit.
– I looked at my work schedule and found that I worked 20 days in a row, with only one day off, and ten days of work and one day off. The doctor says he works 14 days with one day off.
Living with breaks:
– And he never complained. Stainsland says it was very interesting.
– Challenging time
Fear of bringing the infection home and then infecting others led the couple to be home alone during the first strike.
– This is a very challenging time and we hope the same thing never happens again, he says.
– I have read that 40 to 50 percent of hospitals in the Netherlands do not have the opportunity to perform all the surgeries they want to perform. This is bad, says the surgeon.
So far, this does not apply to the hospital where Johnson works, which may vary depending on the number of admissions.
– The interesting thing is that even with the high vaccination rate, people live very close to the Netherlands, which means the virus can still spread.
– What do you think will happen next time?
– Nobody knows, this is so frustrating. The Prime Minister said at the beginning of the epidemic that we have to make 100 percent decisions with 50 percent responses, I think this is good, Johnson says.
Approaching the third level
More than 72 percent of the country’s 17 million people are now fully vaccinated. By comparison, about 70 percent of people in Norway are fully vaccinated.
The doctor believes that vaccines are the way forward, and that health professionals in the Netherlands will soon receive a third dose.
– The virus comes back many times. I think there will be new explosions from time to time. So he says it is important for people to be vaccinated.
So far, the couple has not paid much attention to the recent closure compared to last year’s curfew order, but they do not think the restrictions will last for the next two weeks.
– So far, things are normal for me, but hospitals are improving again now, so the surgeon says this could change quickly.
Something the boyfriend does not believe will happen right away.
– I do not anticipate a new era of loneliness, but the opportunity to work as a physician in epidemiology is a unique experience and I support it. We always have to manage, says Stensland.
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