"We will no longer be able to treat all children adequately," warns DIVI Secretary General Hoffmann. More and more children need treatment for respiratory infections. Clinics are overloaded. The peak of the wave has not yet been reached.
Pediatricians warn of a further massive aggravation of the infection situation in children: "The peak of the current wave of respiratory infections in children is far from being reached. The situation in practices and clinics will get worse in the coming weeks," said Florian Hoffmann, pediatrician and General Secretary of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), the newspapers of the Funke media group. "We will no longer be able to treat all children adequately."
Overloaded children's hospitals are already looking for free beds in other cities within a radius of more than a hundred kilometers, says Hoffmann. Some children have already stayed in the emergency room for two days because there are no free beds. Many children's hospitals would postpone all interventions that are not acutely vital, such as gastrointestinal reflections. "But we have also had cases where we had to cancel a child from whom we wanted to remove lung metastases because there was no free bed. We only do what is immediately life-sustaining."
The Federal Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) also expects the situation to worsen further: "The current wave of infections will increase massively. It's only just beginning, the apex is far from being reached," said BVKJ President Thomas Fischbach the Funke newspapers. RS virus and flu would have started much earlier this year than in previous years. "We are being pinched by both sides. I fear that the situation in the pediatrician's offices will become even more difficult."
DIVI Secretary General Hoffmann called on the resident pediatricians to relieve the clinics more. "In order to be able to care for all acutely ill children, the practices now have to temporarily postpone treatments such as check-ups or vaccinations or, in an emergency, extend the office hours." This is the only way to ensure that all children receive the best possible quality of care.
The German Hospital Society (DKG) expects a further increase in the number of respiratory diseases in children in the coming days. "We have to expect that the RSV wave will continue to rise for a few more days," said DKG CEO Gerald Gass to the editorial network Germany (RND). "France has just peaked and we're about 10 days behind. We hope to peak over the course of the coming week."
There have been reports for days about overloading of children's wards and reaching the capacity limits in children's clinics, especially from urban centers. The personnel situation is "tense", said Gass. "We still have significantly higher sick leave rates than in normal times." The reason given by the CEO of the hospital company is the beginning of the flu season and the corona-related isolation and quarantine requirement. "This in turn means that intensive care beds cannot be operated in the children's area either."
According to Gass, there are RSV waves every year. "But this year the wave is particularly strong," he said. "There is probably a kind of catch-up effect, because in recent years children have had less contact with viruses due to corona measures such as daycare closures," says Gass to the RND.