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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 patient dies after waiting 1 week for ICU bed

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: An ICU bed shortage led to the Covid-19 death of a woman. (via Wikimedia)

As Bangkok faces a health crisis of bed shortages for Covid-19 patients, one woman died after waiting a week to be assigned an ICU bed. The woman was 38 years old from Laos and lived in Ban Krua Nuea in Bangkok. She suspected that she caught Covid-19 at her work selling clothes around Pratunam Market.

After developing a cough she went to a local hospital to get tested for Covid-19 and when the diagnosis came back positive her 42 year old husband was tested also and was confirmed to have the Coronavirus. The diagnosis came on June 18, and she was instructed to wait for an ambulance to pick her up and bring her to a hospital when a Covid-19 ready bed was available.

Once her husband was also diagnosed with Covid-19, he began contacting the hospital to ask when she would be picked up. But the only response he got was advice on how to care for his ailing wife. Frustrated, he contacted several other hospitals in the area when her symptoms worsened, hoping to get help more quickly.

2 days ago she said that she was feeling chest pains and then passed out. Doctors instructed her husband on how to administer CPR while dispatching an ambulance, but by the time it arrived just after noon, the medical staff checked her vitals and pronounced her dead on the spot.

Following the incident, an assistant spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announce that several Bangkok hospitals would be adding more bed capacity to deal with Covid-19 outbreaks. Bang Khun Thian Geriatric Hospital has committed 16 beds for severely affected patients and 70 beds for more mild cases. Thon Buri Hospital Pledge 255 additional beds, while Ratchaphiphat Hospital said they would make available 140 more beds.

A doctor at the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital complained on Facebook about how there are less than 25 available intensive care unit beds throughout Bangkok. He said that in Thailand during the original Covid-19 outbreak, 200 beds were available and the number was beefed up to 300 beds when the second wave struck later in the year.

With the much more severe third wave of Covid-19, the available ICU beds increased to 500, but 475 of them are already occupied by people suffering from Covid-19. It’s not as simple as just pulling out the spare cot in your guest room, as 300 of those patients are on ventilators, and 175 of them have some form of life support equipment like high-flow nasal oxygen. The lack of available medical equipment is quickly becoming a crisis in Bangkok.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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