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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Canada : When pandemics strike, ICUs are ground zero for rapid response

Via Healthzone, excerpt :

" As the H1N1 pandemic spread through Canada in the spring of 2009, a senior federal health official asked Dr. Rob Fowler, a critical care physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, how many intensive-care units there were in this country.

“Rob said, ‘We thought you knew!’ ” recalls Dr. John Marshall, a trauma surgeon at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital. “Even in Canada . . . a developed country, nobody knew what our capacity was.”

That ICU count — 331 — is known now.

What has also become apparent is the revelatory role that hospital ICUs can play in pandemic outbreaks, as places where the virulence, demographics and lethality of emerging ailments can be first and best assessed."

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