The head of the Prague ambulance: We carry the vaccinated in a much better condition. They don’t need oxygen

There are more than ten thousand cases every day, and more than five thousand patients with covid lie in hospitals. When you see the numbers, what’s on your mind?

That we are, of course, in the next wave of the epidemic that has already been here, and I am afraid the burden on hospitals will be extreme. And it has already begun.

The number of stays in the ICU primarily directed from the field is significantly lower compared to previous waves

Is there anything you can do about it?

I am not an epidemiologist, but I see a high workload and high numbers of transports to hospitals against the previous wave, but a clearer course of those vaccinated. The vaccinated patients we need to take and need our care, for whatever reason, are significantly in better shape. We do not have to connect them to breathing apparatus, at least in the first stages of our intervention, which is a big difference from the previous wave.

I don’t quite understand the revolt against vaccination. I have an older date of birth, I have experienced many vaccination campaigns and I never felt that it would make the situation worse. On the contrary, these are diseases that have been removed from the earth’s surface due to vaccination.

What are the most common problems people go to?

It’s high temperature and shortness of breath. We have decision-making schemes that deal with our dispatching in the first phase, the crew on the spot in the second phase, and there is clearly insufficient oxygenation, most likely the development of pneumonia. This is the dominant diagnosis of our covid patients.

Are those phone calls mostly justified? In the past, there have been reservations that people call an ambulance rather than a practitioner.

It is an emergency line, some often do not have advice elsewhere. However, we can discuss which condition already requires an emergency response and which can be solved by home care, for example, the attending physician. We will deal with these statistics.

I also informed the city management that there were increasing phone calls such as: “The general practitioner told me to call the emergency services that he would not come to visit.” But it is not our job to criticize anyone. Our task is to evaluate.

If we can do it, we will advise over the phone. If we send an outing group, we will examine and decide if treatment is still possible at home or if a transfer to the hospital is necessary.

We have introduced another service against the previous wave. We have kept the medics who helped us with the collection vehicles in the first waves, and now, after four to six hours, we are calling back the sick people we have left at home to make sure they are not left without help.

How did the number of departures increase compared to previous months?

August was calmer, for example, when we took 370 patients in connection with the covid, and only eight of them ended up after our intervention in the ICU. We don’t know how things went on in the hospital.

From November 1 to noon on November 19, we transported 1,200 patients, of which 30 ended up in the ICU. The numbers are high, however, the number of stays in the ICU primarily directed from the field is significantly lower compared to previous waves.

What is the immunization among rescuers?

High. We have 85 to 90 percent. We had colleagues who had postponed health vaccinations. We have no group that refuses to be vaccinated. Against the previous waves, we have only nine colleagues who are now incapacitated for work in connection with the covid, only six of them had any symptoms.

Colleagues who are older and have already brought them chronic diseases, it may happen that despite all the vaccinations, it can still be complicated. At the moment, however, these numbers for the operation of the rescue service are completely negligible.

With such numbers, is the debate on compulsory vaccination of health professionals justified?

I really appreciate that I work and am responsible for an organization where I have a very reasonable team. We do not need any power solutions. It was the most important thing for us, and the hospitals and the capital city of Prague helped us to be vaccinated soon. We are mostly after the third dose now.

If strength solutions were needed among health professionals, I would be very surprised. You can save, offer everything from your knowledge to your heart to your blood, but you have to be sensible and protect yourself. And we know today from all available data that vaccination is the essential thing that protects us so that we can do the job.

Are you preparing for further deterioration?

We strengthen outgoing cars, especially in daily shifts. We are doing well and thank you for the great commitment of our colleagues. We have taken all the steps that have been tried in previous waves.

We have kept medics who do not take samples today, but do other activities at the operating center. We have already contacted the military if we need drivers to transport disinfected cars, as has been the case in previous waves.

Other IRS units also helped: fire brigade, police, security service, emergency motorized unit with transports. If that situation arises, it will be the same as in the past. We also deployed a backup helicopter. If necessary, we are ready and will stay with you until the end.