Marie Therese Lingitz1*, Georg A Roth2 and Claus G Krenn1
1Department of Anesthesia, General Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Austria 2Department of Anesthesia, General Intensive Care, Franziskus Spital, AustriaFulltext PDF
Since December 2019, Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) spread rapidly all over the world, resulting in pandemic. Through high hospitalization rates and via potentially exponential expansion of the disease, the COVID-19 crisis places a tremendous strain on healthcare systems, especially on limited numbers of hospital and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) - beds and equipment. The aim of this study was to elucidate the possible dependency of ICUs in European Countries with Austria as pars pro toto on long Trans global supply chains and its potential vulnerability by reported shortages of essential medicines and limited capacities in times of globalization and asserted economic advantages versus the pandemic threat of COVID-19. From 3rd April to 8th April 2020 we performed a short survey with heads of Austria’s ICU-wards following a structured questionnaire to enquire their personal experience and assessment. We surveyed nearly half of the head physicians of ICUs (n=40). The 55 percent (n=22) are already treating COVID-19 affected patients. Only 45 percent (n=18) of them had received the amount of personal protective equipment they deemed enough. The 45 percent (n=18) already reported infections within their medical personnel and 35 percent (n=14) already reported supply difficulties in pharmaceuticals. Summarizing the results of our survey we would like to draw attention to the lessons we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis: European countries should establish a national production of key equipment and disposables and should invest in maintaining critical infrastructure especially in those with limited capacities such as health care in general and ICUs in particular.
Lingitz MT, Roth GA, Krenn CG. Dependency and Vulnerability of Intensive Care Medicine in Times of COVID-19 Crisis. Ann Clin Anesth Res. 2021;5(1):1038..