One is that many paediatric hospitals actually reduced their capacity due to the dramatic drop in more common respiratory diseases, and health care has also been experiencing a bit of a financing crisis.
There has also been a substantial migration of medical personnel due to the pandemic.
That really, in my opinion, underscores how challenging it is to provide for children when there is such a severe disparity between the number of children who require treatment and the amount of healthcare professionals who can really deliver that care. It is a very terrible period, and keep in mind that this comes after a pandemic that has been extremely traumatic for everyone for the previous three years.
It can be believe there are a few different ways to approach that. One is that the paediatric workload is typically smaller than the adult workload in terms of staffing and patients seen. In general, children are healthier. The number of people entering the specialty and the number of unfilled positions is typically fewer.
Hospitals may try to bring in more help or staff from other departments when there are significant staffing shortages. But a lot of the time, it's not that easy. Children are not simply young adults. Their bodies continue to develop. They differ in terms of anatomy and physiology. There are various medication classes that have been authorised for use in them. We're talking about various therapies, and there are various safety and efficacy considerations. It's not so simple to just train someone to care for a 2-year-old, as one doctor explained to me.
Pediatricians are trained to care for these children, and many of them are recovering well after leaving the hospital. However, there are several important factors to be aware of. A child who requires hospital-level treatment will show very obvious signs of respiratory distress, such as wheezing, extremely rapid breathing that looks like they're utilising their chest muscles, and difficulty using their entire body to breathe.