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Bavarian hospital forced to transfer COVID patients to Italy for treatment

Bavarian hospital forced to transfer COVID patients to Italy for treatment

Bavarian hospital forced to transfer COVID patients to Italy for treatment

During the first waves of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Germany helped care for COVID patients from other countries. Now, with German hospitals facing an influx of COVID patients and staff shortages, the tables have turned. One clinic in Bavaria was forced to make the unprecedented decision to transfer two patients to northern Italy for treatment. 

Two COVID patients in Bavaria transferred to South Tyrol

As day after day sees a new record set for daily coronavirus cases, Germany’s hospitals are coming under an immense amount of strain. The number of patients in intensive care is still below the peak experienced last winter, but hospitals are being put under extra pressure by a shortage of workers. Some are therefore being forced to look to other countries to help. 

“Last week… we had to transfer a patient by helicopter to Merano,” said Thomas Marx, the medical director of the hospital in Freising, a medium-sized town around 350 kilometres from Italy’s South Tyrol region. Another patient was transferred by the emergency services over the weekend. “We had no more capacity to receive them, and the surrounding Bavarian hospitals were also full,” he said. 

Marx explained that the intensive care unit is currently treating 13 patients, three more than it has capacity for. Five of them have coronavirus - all of whom are unvaccinated. 

“We already have hardly any capacity”

With coronavirus cases continuing their practically unchecked rise, hospitals in Bavaria are warning that intensive care units could soon become overloaded, and are calling for tougher contact restrictions to help contain the surge. “The current situation is more dramatic than it has ever been in Bavaria during the entire pandemic,” said the managing director of the Bavarian Hospital Society, Roland Enghausen.

“We already have hardly any capacity,” he added. Hospitals are currently being forced to postpone cancer operations indefinitely, while intensive care patients are being transferred to other federal states. “But the way to Baden-Württemberg is actually already closed because the clinics there are getting closer to the Bavarian situation," said Enghausen. "We don't know whether we'll be able to bring anyone to Hessen in a few weeks.”

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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