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Medical staff resign, Japan’s first designated hospital for COVID-19 is “difficult to support”

In less than a week, more than a thousand people in the Los Angeles area have died of COVID-19.

On December 1st local time, the "Desell Express" COVID-19 testing station set up at Alemany Farmers' Market in San Francisco, California, provided testing services to the public. Photo by Liu Guanguan, reporter of China News Service

As the coronavirus pandemic rebounds in Japan, the pressure on medical institutions in many places in Japan continues to increase. More than 20 employees of Osaka Thirteen Citizens Hospital, Japan’s first coronavirus specialist hospital, resigned, and the hospital urgently needed to replenish medical staff.

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported on the 3rd that the Thirteen Citizen Hospital was originally a general hospital with 18 diagnosis and treatment departments. After the outbreak of COVID-19 in Japan, the municipal government announced on April 14 that it would be converted into a specialized hospital for the epidemic. Since April 16, the hospital has successively stopped outpatient, emergency and surgery, transferred about 200 inpatients, renovated the ward, and designed to provide 90 coronavirus beds.

However, since June, when the epidemic eased, hospital medical staff have resigned one after another. As of October, 25 staff members, including 4 doctors and 14 nurses, or 7% of the total staff, had left the hospital. Among the resignations, some doctors were unable to receive patients in the original field of expertise, and some nurses were obstetric nurses who could not receive pregnant women due to the epidemic.

Yukio Nishiguchi, the director of the hospital, said: “Givening the mental pressure of [medical staff], it may not be possible to prevent [personnel] from resigning. There are still concerns about the hospital’s difficulty in sustaining it at present.

According to the hospital, in order to prevent more people from leaving, the hospital has reopened outpatient clinics in departments other than obstetrics since July, but the number of visits is only half of that before the epidemic, and less than 20% of the inpatients of non-coronavirus patients before the epidemic.

At the same time, about half of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients are in their 80s, and they need the help of nurses to eat and defecate, further highlighting the shortage of nurses. Without other medical institutions to support staff, the hospital can only admit about 60 coronavirus patients.

Other hospitals in Osaka decided to transfer medical staff to the 13th Citizen Hospital on November 26.

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