collapse of health facilities, fires, death. Plus a series of glitches and emergencies of varying magnitude, from planes failing to land on the hot runway to cities without power because extreme temperatures melt underground cables. The wave of heat in short, the center-south of Italy becomes a global emergency. And while the thermometer is expected to drop from Thursday, offering a respite, there are still sixteen cities with a “red dot”.
After the pandemic, then, and Emergency room they are again at risk of collapse, despite diseases linked to high temperatures that recur every year. The Italian Federation of Health and Hospitals (Fiaso) calculates an average increase in visits of 30 percent. According to the calculations of Simeu (the Italian Society of Emergency and Urgent Medicine) diagnoses classified as “heat stroke” represent 4% of all visits to the Emergency Department. Pathologies worsened or aggravated by extreme heat are 8% of the total; around two thousand people go to emergency every day for heatstroke and 4600 for an indirect effect of the heat on other pathologies. Not forgetting intestinal infections caused by viruses and bacteria that spread through food exposed to sudden changes in temperature. And so the different health centers try to resort to coverage, as they can.
“All the companies have designed the welfare plans and services in relation to the number of residents during the summer season – says the president of Fiaso, Giovanni Migliore – obviously we observe an irregular situation and in some areas there are greater difficulties”. In reality, strengthening the hospital network is not at all easy, given that the lack of doctors and nurses is also aggravated in this period by the reduction of outpatient consultations or rooms for the holidays of health personnel. “Not only do we not reduce activity, but we burden the doctors who are operational with shifts and workload to allow others to go on vacation – answers Fabio De Iaco, president of Simeu – especially in the emergency rooms of the tourist centers I would prefer to increase the staff, but there is hardly ever any. Let’s not forget that no less than 5,000 doctors would be needed just to adapt the emergencies”.
And then you try to ask family doctors for a hand. “To avoid urgent recourse to the hospital, the support of local services must not be lacking, otherwise the situation will become critical – warns Migliore – General practitioners and pediatricians of free choice must be the armed arm of healthcare.” However, in the summer the only garrison open is still the emergency room. “85 percent of all heat-related illnesses can be easily prevented through responsible and conscious behavior – says Mario Balzanelli, president of the Italian Society of the 118 system (Sis 118) – And, on the other hand, the number of requests received by the operations center from the month of June to today has increased by around 25-26 percent. We receive calls from a user who also feels bad from the heat. In particular, the elderly, who continue to persist tint when leaving the house in the sun believing that they can do ordinary activities. But after a few meters they feel sick and pass out. The problem is that in this period they are alone, no one helps them. To counter the risks from the heat, we will ask the Minister of Civil Protection Musumeci to buy ventilators for the elderly in need.”
And two of the three victims registered yesterday are elderly. It is about a 62-year-old man who in Sora, in the province of Frosinone, collapsed to the ground in the crowd during a show due to a heart attack that later proved fatal, and a 71-year-old man who, in the Càller area, fell ill while driving in a parking lot of a shopping center in Quartu Sant’Elena. The third victim is a 50-year-old Tunisian who worked as an agricultural laborer in Montalto di Castro, on the coast of Viterbo. The man fell to the ground while picking watermelons.
FLAMES AND CHAOS
The high temperatures are also reflected in the fires, with several fires – fortunately without casualties – recorded in Calabria and Sicily, around Palermo. On the other side of the island, in Catania, there is a city on its knees. That, after the fire that put the airport out of action, it now has to face the absence of electricity and water. The record heat melted the underground cables and compromised the operation of the elevator pumps. Mistakes also in Sardinia: with a temperature on the tarmac of 47 degrees, Olbia airport had to divert some of the incoming flights to other airports for safety reasons.
Source : IL Messaggero