"If we don't want to sort patients, maybe we should sort politicians," doctor warns

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The main point raised by the Latvian Medical Association (LĀB) to normalize the situation caused by Covid-19 is the reduction of unnecessary contacts by 40-60%, vice president of LĀB Roberts Fūrmanis told Latvian Television October 6.

He also said that the government's intention to impose different restrictions on vaccinated and unvaccinated groups of society would not suffice because it would be difficult to keep track.

“At the moment, the situation is that we cannot separate one flow from another [vaccinated and unvaccinated]. Individual restrictions planned to be enforced by politicians cannot be controlled and will not have an effect on reducing the number of infections,” he said.

At the LĀB press briefing on Wednesday, medical experts agreed that contacts must be limited and that the healthcare system is facing a catastrophe. Restrictions should therefore be extended to vaccinated persons, work should be carried out remotely where possible, decisions relating to public transport, entertainment, catering and other places should also be made.

“Even if all the unvaccinated were going to get vaccinated today and further illness was stopped, we are in danger of overloading hospitals. Intensification of vaccination will not be sufficient. It is necessary to reduce at least half the number of meetings,” said infectologist Uga Dumpis, indicating that “serious political decisions” are needed to halve the number of contacts.

“We call on politicians to make these serious decisions tomorrow at the highest level, otherwise this will lead to a complete disaster,” the infectologist warned.

LĀB's vice president, Roberts Fūrmanis, said: “The situation is very unpleasant, even tragic. Politicians need to stop exploiting the pandemic in political fights and save health care from collapse. It is high time for politicians and the public to listen to what health professionals say.” He added that while each ministry or political grouping is pulling the rope toward its own goal, there will be no decisive action. In his opinion, with the proposals laid out by experts Tuesday, there was no reason that decision-making should have been postponed to Thursday.

"If we do not want to sort patients, maybe we should start sorting politicians who cannot make decisions," Fūrmanis said. 

Meanwhile, Emergency Medical Service chief Liene Cipule said that patient sorting and congestion is already ongoing.

“I've approved a new algorithm for the NMPD today. We will focus on life-saving calls as much as possible. This must be taken into account. We will no longer have the health services we are accustomed to,” she pointed out. Cipule explained that brigade calls would only be able to go to acute patients and to children. Meanwhile, everyone should be prepared to take better care of themselves and see that first-aid kits and fever medicine is in place at home, as well as think about backup transport to a hospital if a NMPD team cannot come.

LĀB's representative and nephrologist Kārlis Rācenis said that due to the current situation, the quality of health care would be expected to fall significantly as there would be a lack of resources also in the Covid-unrelated departments.  "As medical professionals, there is nothing else we can do at this point," said Rācenis.


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