Study: 1 In 4 Israelis Would Have Survived COVID-19 If Hospitals Were Less Overcrowded

Photo: Jonathan Sindel/Flash 90

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — 47-year-old Moshe Charazi was intubated in the ICU at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital after suffering from coronavirus. Inexplicably, the intubation equipment was disconnected for a few minutes last Friday night and somehow the staff at the ICU did not notice, as the distress signal did not work. Moshe passed away during those few critical minutes.

Moshe’s case may be an extreme example of the unnecessary deaths which may occur when a coronavirus department is full and doctors are not capable of giving adequate treatment to all the patients, but a worrying new study by Professor Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute claims that 1 in 4 Israelis who died of coronavirus in Israeli hospitals in recent weeks could feasibly have been saved if hospitals were not so overburdened with patients at present.

The research conducted by Prof. Segal in conjunction with Hebrew University and the Technion referred to the first three weeks of the “third wave” of coronavirus which Israel is presently experiencing. Segal says that “given the age and condition of patients at the time of their hospitalization, there is 25% gratuitous mortality during the third wave and during part of the second wave due to the crowded conditions in COVID-19 wards.”

During the second wave, Prof. Segal investigated the deaths of 620 people and concluded that 130 had died due to overcrowded wards- a factor of 1 in 5. Segal explained that “we gathered the data on those hospitalized and established the chances of survival according to age, gender, sector and level of sickness when hospitalized. We derived from this the chances of survival or deterioration during “routine” periods when there is not overcrowding. The model takes into account the chances of patients deteriorating into serious conditions as well as their characteristics.

We built a model which forecasts mortality, meaning how many people “should” have died in the second wave according to the model of previous weeks. When we compared the model to the real results the disparity grew larger, representing the number of people who died but would have survived without the overcrowding.”

Recent weeks have seen the most severe outbreak of COVID-19 in Israel since the virus broke out, with nearly 10,000 cases a day and more than 300 deaths over the last week. The rate of infection has slowed as a result of the massive vaccination campaign in Israel and there has been a sharp drop in serious conditions among those over 60, of whom nearly 80% have been vaccinated.


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