Coronavirus: University Hospital Essen is preparing for the wave of infections


The University Hospital in Essen is one of those hospitals that have been in focus since the beginning of the corona crisis in Germany. This is where highly specialized infectiology staff work. A visit.

Eating – Canan Emcan is a happy woman. The 31-year-old with the friendly face smiles a lot and is the type of nurse that you want as a patient when you wake up from anesthesia after the operation. Despite her likeable nature, Canan Emcan is currently being cut by one or another of her acquaintances. Because she is head of the infectious diseases department at the Essen University Hospital. The Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus has many ugly faces, one of which is apparently irrational.

Canan Emcan takes it with great serenity that her popularity ratings have just slipped a bit among some friends. “I’m very relaxed with it,” she says with a smile. Some reactions cannot always be explained with common sense.

Coronavirus in Essen University Hospital: The best protected people

Emcan is currently one of the best people in Germany who are best protected against the corona virus: she is wearing the best possible protective clothing at the moment. And she is trained in dealing with infectious people. In contrast to many others, who may be sitting completely unprotected and unwittingly having dinner with an infected person in the restaurant and saying goodbye with a hug. Also because of this continuing ignorance, the CEO of the University Hospital Essen, Jochen A. Werner, posted a video with behavioral tips about how to deal with the corona virus on Facebook, which has meanwhile (As of Friday, March 13th) was viewed by almost half a million people. The clinic also had 10,000 lapel buttons produced that warn of a handshake.

Here in Essen there are special isolation rooms that other clinics do not have. They are spaces that are completely self-sufficient and are actually intended for deadly diseases such as Ebola. The station has been completely banned from visiting for a few days. “That changed our workflow a little,” says Sebastian Dolff, senior consultant at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases.

Coronavirus in Essen University Hospital: personnel must be extremely careful

“The discussions are very high,” says Canan Emcan, describing the conversation with one or two relatives. There would be a great need for discussion due to the ban on visits. “Of course that takes us time,” says the 31-year-old. “It is an incision that many relatives from the hospital are not used to,” added Dolff: “But usually there is a lot of understanding in this exceptional situation.”

The maintenance effort on the ward had not changed much. “But the insulation effort has increased,” she says. The staff had to be extremely careful not to spread the highly contagious viruses any further. Specifically, this means that the nurses prepare in the so-called pre-locks and put on a protective coat, hood, an FFP3 mask, gloves and a face shield. “We then try to be as effective as possible so that we don’t have to keep getting in and out of the rooms.”

Sebastian Dolff, senior consultant at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases at the University Hospital Essen. (click on the top right for full screen)

© Jens Greinke

Coronavirus in Essen University Hospital: No bottlenecks in test sets

After visiting the patient, the protective clothing was left in the room except for the face mask. The FFP3 mask with the highest level of protection, which is now known and sought-after throughout the country, is only stored in the lock. The personnel on the station are not tested regularly. “It doesn’t make sense either, because a negative test result would only weigh you with false security,” says Dolff: “But we are checked regularly about body temperature.”

Over 1000 people have already been tested in Essen. Bottlenecks regarding the test sets have not yet been identified there. “We have no problems with that. But of course we are not the only ones who test. All of China and all of Italy are testing, there is testing everywhere. And there aren’t that many manufacturers on the market, ”says Dolff. In Essen, however, one is “well prepared and prepared”.

Coronavirus in Essen University Hospital: “Cases will increase exponentially”

In the University Medical Center in Essen there had been the first corona death in Germany in the past week. “Of course it’s always unfortunate,” says Dolff. An 89-year-old pre-ill patient had died. “It is still tragic, but not so that it scares you and thinks that it is now an absolutely fatal disease.” Two corona patients are currently in the isolation ward in Essen. “All stable,” reports Dolff. The duration of stay of the sick is different. “It’s mostly like pneumonia. It always has a different clinical course, ”says the infectiologist. At the moment you can only treat the symptoms. “First of all, it is a respiratory infection that is being treated,” says Dolff.

The senior physician knows that a wave of corona patients will come to the ward. “It will come that way,” he says. It was a team task that had to be solved internally. “But also a social one that we cannot solve on our own,” says the infectious disease specialist: “It is to be expected that there will be more cases. It will increase exponentially. We will have to take drastic measures. ”The doctor does not want to predict“ exact figures ”. But one can roughly “deduce” from the “dynamic trends” in China and Italy how things could be in Germany. “I think it will be roughly analog.”

We report on the current developments in our news ticker on the corona virus in NRW.


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