The University Hospital in Bratislava risks collapse

Some doctors allegedly refuse to help at COVID-19 wards.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

When patients infected with the coronavirus are transferred to the University Hospital in Bratislava (UNB), the hospital may not be able to provide urgent healthcare at wards in which it serves as an end hospital. This includes some surgical wards.

The situation is complicated by the boycott of some doctors who do not specialise in COVID-19 and thus refuse to help wards treating COVID-19 patients, according to information provided to Sme. This only underlines the lack of healthcare workers at UNB.

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The UNB, which is comprised of four hospitals, is the largest medical facility in Slovakia.

Although Bratislava and its surroundings have not been hit hard by the coronavirus yet, the number of hospitalised coronavirus patients and their transfer from other parts of Slovakia increased by nearly 37 percent during the first 18 days of November.

The national average during this term is about 15 percent, according to Ivan Bosňák from the Dáta bez Pátosu (Data without Pathos) initiative, which processes open data about the coronavirus in Slovakia.

If it continues rising, the UNB may not be able to care for patients with other diagnoses, according to Tomáš Szalay, medical analyst and regional doctor in Bratislava.

The most serious situation is in the Ružinov hospital, where 10 healthcare staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The UNB management thus initiated a meeting of Bratislava Region’s security council and asked other hospitals to take some of its patients or provide medical staff to help them, Szalay said.

Private facilities promised to help

“We’ve got a problem as we receive requests to take patients from the coronavirus-hit districts in northern and eastern Slovakia to Bratislava,” Szalay quoted doctor Katarína Sedláková, chair of the UNB’s crisis staff.

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