Cancer patients who contract Covid-19 endure a delay of at least two weeks before resuming chemotherapy or radiation therapy, a specialist said.
Other patients who are not urgent and are on waiting lists for surgeries for others Illnesses, surgeries are also postponed for at least four weeks after contracting the virus, while those deemed urgent face a delay of two weeks or more.
Professor Seamus O Reilly, consultant oncologist in Cork, said the medical guideline for cancer patients is at least two weeks between infection and continued treatment.
The current Covid 19 wave is “extremely stressful” for patients and hospital staff and “everyone just wants to get through the next few weeks,” he said Irish Independent.
He spoke as a record daily 231 patients with Covid-19 admitted to hospitals yesterday, taking the number of beds occupied by the virus to 1,466, up by 41 on Thursday.
The number of these patients in intensive care remains relatively stable at 55, up by two since Thursday.
Another 19,866 new cases of the virus were reported, including 9,324 who tested positive after a PCR test.
Hospitals, already overwhelmed with record numbers of patients presenting to emergency rooms, reached out to thousands of people yesterday to say their surgery, outpatient appointment or diagnostic test was canceled to ease the strain.
Doctors have warned that today’s canceled patients are tomorrow’s emergencies.
Prof O Reilly said the absence of staff due to Covid-19 is taking a huge toll and those on duty “can only walk so fast”.
Describing the burden on patients and doctors, he said: “If someone is Covid positive, you can’t put them in an oncology day ward or radiation therapy ward. You can not treat them for at least two weeks.
“We get calls every day about patients testing positive and the need to delay treatment.”
He said the hope was that the current spike would peak in a few weeks and the impact on care would begin to ease.
The government is currently examining whether the self-isolation period for people with Covid-19 can be reduced from seven to five days, in particular to relieve lost work.
Public health advice is still pending, however, and the new body that will form the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) under outgoing Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony will replace Holohan has yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, a new report shows a growing number of patients with Covid-19 visiting emergency rooms have been admitted to intensive care units.
The Health Protection Surveillance Center (HPSC) report showed that in the current wave – from December 19 to March 19 – 27.8 percent of patients presenting to emergency rooms were admitted to the ICU, up from 24.1 percent in the delta wave and 21.9 PC in the previous wave.
Eighty women with the virus were admitted to intensive care during this wave, compared to 125 men.
About 82 percent had an underlying condition — most commonly high blood pressure, chronic respiratory disease, and chronic heart disease.
Fewer pregnant women have ended up in intensive care during this wave.
Two had been seriously ill since December 19, compared with 39 between June and December during the Delta variant surge.
The report showed that of the 205 patients admitted to ICU during the current wave, 74 died, 90 were discharged and the rest were still hospitalized at the time of the report.
The median length of stay was six days, but one patient was in the ICU for more than two months. The youngest patient was 15 and the oldest 97.
Omicron’s BA.2 form, which is more portable, has supplanted BA.1, which is responsible for the current surge.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/covid-19-forces-delay-of-two-weeks-in-cancer-patients-treatment-41489255.html Covid-19 forces a two-week delay in treating cancer patients