Dutch COVID patients have started being taken to Germany by helicopter for urgent treatment after cases surge in the Netherlands.
The first such international airlift since the global pandemic first threatened to swamp Dutch hospitals in the spring started on Friday. The Dutch airlift from Flevohospital to a hospital in the German city of Muenster came amid soaring rates of infection in the Netherlands, where the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 24.58 new cases per 100,000 people on Oct. 7 to 47.74 new cases per 100,000 on Oct. 21.
Flevohospital spokesman Peter Pels said flying patients across an international border was a last resort after other hospitals in the region around Almere said their intensive care units couldn’t take them. As of Thursday, there were 463 COVID-19 patients in Dutch intensive care units- the hospital had to transfer two ‘very ill’ patients to Germany on Friday.
“We actually prefer not to move patients because it is very drastic, also for family,” he said. “But to keep the quality and safety of care at a good level, unfortunately, it is necessary to move patients.”
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