Concern about the impact of Pope's visit on ED & # 39; s

Papal masses carry specific risks
  • Deborah Condon

Doctors working in the emergency departments (EDs) have expressed concern about the impact that the Pope's visit might have on already overcrowded hospitals.

Pope Francis will visit Ireland on 25 and 26 August. His journey will include a Mass at the Pope's Cross in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, where 500,000 people are expected to attend.

According to the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM), the public hospital system is already struggling to handle the increasing number of patients. This is particularly evident in ED & # 39; s, with many patients waiting a long time for trolleys.

Mass meetings can, however, lead to a larger number of people who need medical care and according to the medical literature the papal masses carry extra specific risks, such as a much larger number of older people present, many with pre-existing diseases, a mobile unplaced crowd, and exposure to the elements.

"A large review contains figures from nine papal masses and showed an average of 40 patients who needed medical assistance per 10,000 attendees, with five per 10,000 attendees needing transportation to a hospital.

"For the expected 500,000 people in the Phoenix Park, this amounts to 1,000 – 3,000 requiring medical assistance (usually first aid on site), but between 250 and 750 needing transportation to one of six Dublin ED & # 39 ; s, "emphasized the IAEM.

The association said that although & # 39; some planning & # 39; before this event occurred, & # 39; it has started too late and the necessary additional funding to hospitals has not yet been confirmed & # 39 ;.

It also warned that "assumptions about the workload were apparently too conservative."

"While volunteer emergency services and ambulance services are on site to provide care, these services will not have medical support.A medical facility is planned on-site to resuscitate and stabilize the most critical patients before transport to an ED, but it is not yet sufficiently staffed.

"Because of the continuing staff shortages, Dublin EDs are struggling with the extra medical and nursing staff needed to deal with the extra arrivals at the receiving hospitals," IAEM noted.

It noted that some people postpone the care of the care until the Monday or Tuesday after the mass, which will entail risks for the people involved and lead to an increase in the ED presence.

The association offers the following advice to everyone attending the Mass:
-Prepare for a long day
– Prepare for considerable walking
– Do not forget to bring medicines that you may need during the day
– Copy your ID and details of surviving relatives
Stay hydrated and make sure you have access to food
-Do not go if you do not feel well.

"There is a justified nervousness among the staff of the Dublin EDs about the lack of planning for unforeseen events, while heroism will undoubtedly be carried out by the staff who work, the perpetual lack of capacity and the lack of Timely and comprehensive planning, I hope that the numbers that need medical help are at the bottom of the estimates, "added IAEM.

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