Interview with the Director General Dr. Francesc Bonet
Spain has been struck harshly by the Covid-19 epidemic.
Hans Morten Lossius, General Secretary of the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation (NAAF) interviews Director General Dr. Francesc Bonet, from the cross-national hospital AECT – Hospital de Cerdanya about the situation in Spain and their experiences so far. The Interview was made in early April.
Their services are situated in the far north Spain, at the French border.
– What is the situation in your area now? Lossius asks.
– Fortunately, we are in an isolated area in the mountains between France and Spain, Bonets says.
The area is not densely populated, and there is no public transport that carry people infected with Covid-19.
– We are one of the best hospitals for the moment, due to the isolation, Bonet tells.
AECT-Hospital de Cerdanya is situated 1200 meters above the ocean, and the atmosphere is clean. They receive both French and Spanish patients at the hospital, and they have more or less the same amount of infected people from both countries.
They have a 24-hour heliport on the roof where they normally receive mountain rescue helicopters from the French Securité Civile, and HEMS helicopters from SAMU, the French medical emergency system, and helicopters from the Catalan side.
– Have the population of patients in HEMS changed in this situation?
– Yes, because of the isolation of the citizens, we have a very low amount of trauma patients. There are almost no traffic or mountain accidents, because it is forbidden at the moment to go out of our homes.
Bonet tells that the amount has decreased as much as 90 percent, and that the helicopters are mostly used to interhospital transfers.
France and Spain have different sets of restrictions for corona-patients. The French do helicopter transports of Covid-patients, while the Spanish helicopters avoid these transports because it may give them logistical problems.
– Are there any changes in cardiovascular emergencies or other emergencies?
– Well, it is a strange situation, medical emergencies like stroke and myocardial infarcts also have slowed down a bit for the moment. People are more relaxed at home, so there are fewer medical pathologies.
Bonet tells that the hospitals are 80-90 percent dedicated to the fight against Covid-19. Most of the critically ill patients, especially when it comes to respiratory distress are related to Covid.
– Our intensive care units (ICU) are not organized for these situations, so we have to intubate patient to transport them to higher level hospitals.
– Are you discussing taking the HEMS physicians to man the ICU?
– In Spain the HEMS physicians usually go only on the helicopter, while in France they have mixed the ground service and the aeronautical service.
– Do you still have a heavy burden on the health system?
– The cases are rising, and we think we are on the top now. The government has to balance between finances and starting the system again, as well as going into a more normal life, so they try to let people go to work. Schools, restaurants and other populated areas are still closed. So, when a lot of people suddenly go out, we expect a rise of cases again. We can understand that life and business must continue, but we still have a high level of infections and deaths.
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