herald

Friday 13 December 2019

Children's ops cancelled due to respiratory virus upsurge

Temple St Children’s Hospital
Temple St Children’s Hospital

Planned surgery for children on waiting lists is being delayed in Dublin's three children's hospitals over the coming weeks due to a surge in patients with respiratory illness.

It contributed to 22 youngsters having to wait on a trolley for a bed yesterday morning.

It will also lead to the postponement of many planned operations for children on waiting lists in the coming weeks.

Over the weekend, the hospitals at Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght treated a high number of children with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

RSV is a common virus and almost all children are infected with it by the time they are two years old.

In older children and adults, RSV may cause a cough or cold but in younger children it can cause bronchiolitis.

Children's Health Ireland, covering the three children's hospitals, said that yesterday morning, "there were 22 patients waiting for admission to an inpatient bed in the three children's emergency departments (EDs) compared to 11 for the same period last week".

"Any long waiting time for children in emergency departments is regrettable," it added.

Vomiting

"This increase in numbers is in part a result of higher rates of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract, flu and norovirus (known as the winter vomiting bug), all of which circulate at this time of year."

A spokeswoman said: "Our advice for any parent/guardian whose child or infant gets flu-like symptoms is they should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease flu symptoms

"If parents are worried about their child's breathing or fluid intake or if any young child or infant is in a high-risk group and develops flu-like symptoms they should contact their GP."

She said to cope with this emergency department increase they are restricting all elective and routine inpatient procedures in the coming weeks.

"We apologise to families whose children may have to have their procedures postponed at short notice," she said.

"We are making every effort to improve the situation and will reschedule these at the soonest possible opportunity.

"Vaccination rates are increasing and they are the best prevention measure, so if you haven't had one yet, get the flu vaccine now. There is still time to get the vaccine to prevent the onset of flu or limit its impact."

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