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Swine flu victim in intensive care

A PATIENT is seriously ill in Ipswich Hospital's intensive care unit with a probable case of swine flu, health officials revealed yesterday.

No personal details have been released about the patient, but hospital chiefs expect further admissions to the unit as the number of swine flu cases grows.

Some elective surgeries have already been postponed as the hospital prepares to cope with the pandemic. There are now 28 other human swine flu victims in intensive care in hospitals throughout Queensland.

Darling Downs West Moreton health district chief executive Pam Lane said the swine flu's impact on health facilities would continue for a number of weeks.

“Pressure will increase on all parts of the system, from the emergency department to beds in both in acute areas and some rural hospitals,” Ms Lane said.

“Although human swine flu is a mild disease, there are a small percentage of people who will develop a severe form of the disease and require intensive care.

“The impact on the acute beds at Ipswich is expected to be significant as we have the usual winter bed increases, flu cases that require hospitalisation and the transfer of intensive patients back to general wards.”

She said senior executives from Ipswich and Toowoomba hospitals will meet each morning to coordinate and manage the extra pressure on hospital beds.

Ipswich and West Moreton Division of General Practice chairman Dr Michael Thorpe said GPs were advising swine flu patients to remain isolated to reduce its spread.

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