Friday, January 7, 2011

Flu deaths hit 50 this winter, Health Protection Agency announces

Eleven more people have died from flu across the UK, taking the total to 50, the Health Protection Agency has announced.
Of these, 45 died with swine flu (H1N1) and five with another strain, flu type B.
The deaths are mostly among children and young adults, with five cases in the under-fives and eight cases among those aged five to 14.
The release of the HPA figures comes as hospitals across the country begin cancelling planned operations to free up intensive care beds to deal with rising numbers of seriously ill flu patients.
Managers of hospitals in Newcastle, Manchester, Norfolk, Leicester and London have already declared they have had to put some elective operations on hold, including heart surgery. That list is expected to grow.
One doctor said there had been a "huge burst of H1N1 marching up the country" that was putting pressure on intensive care unit (ICU) beds, in particular those equipped to deal with patients suffering from respiratory failure.

There are only a small number of beds equipped with Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) facilities in the country, which acts as an artificial lung for such extremely ill patients.

Dr Jon Smith, in charge of the ECMO unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, told The Northern Echo: "I would say that from a national point of view we are very close to capacity most days."

No comments:

Post a Comment