Transplant operation cancelled due to ICU bed shortage at Mater

The intensive care physician Dr. Andrew Westbrook described the cancellation of a transplant at Mater Hospital last week as “symptomatic” of the crisis caused by the lack of intensive care beds.

“This is a very unfortunate situation for the patient concerned, for the patient’s family and for the donor and for the donor’s family,” he told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland.

The cancellation was symptomatic of the fact that the intensive care system in Ireland was undersupplied. There are said to be at least 550 intensive care beds in the country, according to a report published 12 years ago, he said.

Last year there was a “slight increase” of 50 beds, at least another 150 to 200 intensive care beds would have to be added, which would bring Ireland to the “average” level in Europe.

“If we had this number of beds, we could care for more acutely ill patients.”

Dr. Westbrook pointed out that there must be a well-trained team of at least six caregivers for each ICU bed.

The recent surge in coronavirus cases in Ireland is overwhelming many intensive care units and is causing hospitals to run out of intensive care beds in some locations.

The University of Limerick Hospital Group’s executive director said Friday that the hospital’s intensive care unit was full, putting additional pressure on staff.

Collette Cowan said she believed all elective procedures will be paused until next Wednesday as the hospital group prepares for a surge in Covid patients.

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