French and Italian patients suffering from the novel coronavirus have been transferred to Germany. Perhaps the same can be done for the Netherlands should ICUs reach their full capacity.
Normally, there are 1150 beds in ICUs across the Netherlands. As of yesterday, the Dutch Association for Intensive Care (NVIC) reported that 761 of these beds were occupied by coronavirus patients. However, the Netherlands is working on building the capacity of hospitals to accommodate more people.
Nonetheless, seeing how fast the number of cases is climbing, it is possible that at some stage hospitals will be overwhelmed — in which case Germany may be able to help. The country has greater capacity, according to RTLNieuws.
“It would be great if they could take over patients from us, says Diederik Gommers, the chairman of the NVIC. “UMC Maastricht is in close contact with the university hospital in Aachen.” Of course, the details, such as how patients will be transferred has not been discussed as yet.
Transfer of foreign patients
RTLNieuws stated that a patient in critical condition from Northern Italy was transferred to Dresden in the state of Saxony, by a military plane. So far, eight patients have been admitted.
In Baden-Württemberg, foreign patients (reportedly from France) are also being treated. The region has nearly 2.5 times more ICUs with ventilation equipment than the Netherlands, with fewer inhabitants (10 million).
Germany has the most ICU beds available in Europe. This amounts to over 25,000 beds with respiratory equipment compared to the Netherlands with 1150 beds.
Is Germany up for it?
Well for now RTLNieuws reports that the answer is yes, Germany could help the Netherlands out if ICUs are overwhelmed.
#BREAKING Minister-president van Nordrhein-Westfalen Armin Laschet bevestigt aan ons @NOS dat er contact is met Nederland over de eventuele opvang van Nederlandse patiënten: "Wij willen helpen waar onze capaciteiten dat toestaan." #CoronaVirus
— Wouter Zwart NOS (@WouterZwart) March 27, 2020
But given the spread of coronavirus, things change everyday. It could indeed happen that circumstances change and that Germany will no longer accept foreign patients.
But for now, we can hope that if things get bad in the Netherlands, our eastern neighbour can lend a hand.
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