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Swine Flu: Six Previously Healthy People On Life Support in Sydney Hospital

Mick | 14.07.2009 04:47 | Health

Six young persons who do not have underlying health conditions are in a critical condition in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.

This morning's Sydney Morning Herald reports that six young, previously healthy people in Sydney are fighting for their lives on last-resort cardiac bypass machines because their lungs have been too damaged or diseased by Swine Flu to allow mechanical ventilation.

The surge in cardiac bypass patients is putting a strain on intensive care units and staff. No doubt decisions will soon have to be made about who is going to be saved and who will have to be left to die. These necessary decisions will pose ethical problems for medical staff.

All six swine flu victims are at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where staff have had to borrow three machines to treat ten swine flu sufferers in the last two weeks. The hospital usually only uses the cardiac bypass machines five times a year.

Head of intensive care services Dr Robert Herkes stated "This is not an ordinary flu. It is hitting young, otherwise healthy people...they start with a sore throat, develop shortness of breath and within 12 to 24 hours have rapidly developed respiratory failure and are being ventilated."

Dr Herkes said extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was considered a last resort treatment.
Dr Brad Fankum said "The number of people being treated with ECMO is of great concern because these cases of respiratory distress are threatening the capacity of the system."

This news, together with the news of the death of 6 year old British girl Chloe, and a doctor in England, shows a significant escalation in the threat Swine Flu poses to the world.

Further articles can be found on Sydney Indymedia and the Herald: