'Some of the coronavirus patients died because of mistakes by hospital staff

Hospital official says some coronavirus patients died 'not because of the disease, but serious mistakes. I've never seen such big mistakes.'

David Rosenberg ,

Treating the coronavirus
Treating the coronavirus

A number of coronavirus patients who died after being hospitalized may have died as a result of poor treatment, rather than the disease itself, a new study finds.

During the first wave of the coronavirus in late February, March, and April, medical staff at hospitals across the country were confronted with a new disease they knew little about, with a sudden influx of patients, including some in serious condition, forcing doctors and nurses to split their time between other patients and those suffering from the coronavirus.

The relatively high fatality rate early on in the pandemic, which later declined as more was learned about the coronavirus, prompted investigations into how hospitals handled the crisis.

The results from one such study, conducted by Dr. Aryeh Sorokski, highlight the difficulties faced at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon in central Israel.

Dr. Sorokski, who heads the hospital’s intensive care unit, gave the results to the hospital’s president, Dr. Anat Angel at the beginning of June, and earlier this week the findings were also provided to the new director-general of the Health Ministry, Hezi Levy.

On Wednesday, Israel Hayom revealed the report, highlighting some of its key findings.

In his report, Dr. Sorokski warned that Israel’s healthcare system might face a deluge of cases during the winter, with a combination of seasonal flu and coronavirus outbreaks.

“It is possible that this coming winter we will face a double outbreak of the seasonal flu and the coronavirus, and we must prepare for a wave of many patients on assisted breathing.”

“We need to improve in a number of critical areas, because a failure to do so will be paid in human lives.”

Regarding the hospital’s handling of the first wave of the coronavirus, Dr. Sorokski found a number of serious mistakes made by hospital staff, which led to the deaths of virus patients.

A total of 120 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized at Wolfson, of which 21 died during their hospitalization.

“We suffered from a serious lack of experienced, veteran doctors in the intensive care ward, and were forced to divide our time between our regular tasks of treating regular hospital patients and providing care for coronavirus patients.”

That lack of experienced staff members “led to failures in the ongoing treatment of patients and the monitoring [of patients].”

“In my 25 years of work in intensive care, I have never seen these kinds of mistakes, and the fact that they were allowed to take place points to the lowest level of skill and lack of professionalism.”

In his report, Dr. Sorokski concludes that some of the 21 fatalities among coronavirus patients at the hospital were not caused by the virus itself, but by errors made by hospital staff.