A spike in respiratory illnesses in the DC area has many of the region’s children’s hospitals scrambling to accommodate pediatric patients.
More than 650 beds between pediatric facilities at Inova Fairfax, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and Children’s National Hospital in DC have been at full capacity for weeks, according to a Washington Post report published Thursday.
The patient surge coincides with an increase in the number of cases of RSV and the common cold, the report said, variants believed to have diminished over the last two years due to social distancing and other measures implemented to stifle the spread of COVID-19.
Officials remain adamant about not denying anyone care but with no beds available, some children are being treated in hospital emergency rooms, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center’s Dr. Sofia Teferi, a pediatrician, tells the Washington Post.
“The fact that you have to look at the parent and say your kid needs ICU-level care but we have no bed for them: That’s a very hard conversation to have,” Teferi tells the Post. She says she treated a 4-month-old in the hospital’s emergency room. “I’m just floored by the whole thing — in the nation’s capital.”
Due to capacity issues, and what many physicians are anticipating to be an extreme flu season as COVID continues to linger, doctors are encouraging parents to explore alternative options to hospital admissions, including visiting urgent care centers or scheduling phone consultations with pediatricians, the report said. Johns Hopkins provides this tip sheet for parents who may be on the fence in such a scenario.
Children’s National emergency medical physician Dr. Sarah Combs tells the Post the current situation only adds to the list of reasons why parents and their children should be vaccinated against COVID and the flu.
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