A ‘Code Black’ would mean that the hospital cannot handle any further patients
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The largest hospital in Leeuwarden, the MCL, is under huge pressure due to a series of Coronavirus outbreaks in the oncology department, as well as two others, reports the Omrop Fryslân. Patients are being cared for by other hospitals in the Province, and administrators at the hospital are now preparing for a ‘Code Black’ scenario, where the hospital cannot take in any further patients.
At the moment, there is a mad rush to squeeze any extra capacity out of the beleaguered hospital; whilst the MCL is currently able to keep up with new patients, any ‘third wave’ of Coronavirus cases could quickly overwhelm it. “We think of the situation like a friendly competition”, says IC-nurse Ingrid Bakker, “who can put on their protective clothing the fastest. But you never win”, she says.
The Omrop was allowed to tour the intensive care unit at the MCL, and in ‘Kamer 8’ there are two patients that are causing concern for staff. One, a 60-year old man, is awake but, with a series of tubes in his throat; needed due to swelling in his neck. Another ICU bed is occupied by a man in a coma; staff talk to the man continuously in the hope that he will wake up.
Working in the IC unit is incredibly hard, says Bakker, “it’s hard work physically, and you’re entirely covered in protective clothing so it’s hot too, but it’s also mentally heavy: you can care for a patient for a long time, and then after a two-day break you come back and find the bed empty because the patient has died in the meantime. That hits hard. We work in small teams, and you don’t get to see many colleagues, either”.