Jan. 29: Flu season hits hard
We are experiencing an unexpected surge of critically ill patients with influenza. Dr. Raschke, one of our Intensive Care physicians and director of our Pulmonary Critical Care Fellowship, recently sent me a note:
“BGSMC is seeing an seeing an incredibly high number of life-threatening influenza cases this year: The flu season is in full swing. Although there is not a large increase in the overall number of cases of flu compared to past years, an unusually high number of patients are developing life-threatening influenza pneumonia. Many are otherwise healthy young and middle-aged adults who develop severe breathing difficulty from influenza that requires life support. The unusually high numbers of patients with life-threatening influenza are already taxing the capacity of Critical Care units across the entire state. Fatalities are occurring despite the highest levels of medical care.
Critical Care units across the state are working together to coordinate our resources for the sickest patients. These include the Mayo Clinic, Banner Good Samaritan, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center, and St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Everyone who has not been vaccinated this fall or winter should immediately do so. It’s not too late to prevent a potentially life-threatening case of influenza. If you experience symptoms of the flu - fever, cough, sore throat, headache, body aches and overall weakness - call your health care provider. Treatment can shorten the duration of symptoms. If you have the flu and you experience difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider immediately."
Be safe and tell your friends and neighbors to get vaccinated. As this flu season is soberly reminding us, BGSMC is always prepared to deliver expert and compassionate care to our most complex patients, but let’s do everything we can to help prevent illness before our patients need us.
Thanks for your daily contributions to this Place of Possibility.
Steve Narang, MD, is the chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.