Turkish hospitals experience patient surge matching pandemic numbers, TTB says

With the increasing impact of influenza and other seasonal viruses as well as COVID-19 variants, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) stated that Turkish hospitals have been going through a period similar to the peak days of the pandemic. The TTB officials said that each doctor at family health centers has been examining at least 100 patients a day.

Duvar English

Physicians in Turkey report that patient volumes have increased significantly in recent weeks due to COVID-19, influenza, and other seasonal viruses, and hospitals have been short of beds in intensive care units.

Emrah Kırımlı, Head of the Family Medicine Branch of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), said, "It is as if we are experiencing the peak days of the COVID-19 pandemic again,” and added that each doctor at family health centers have been examining at least 100 patients a day, according to reporting of the BBC Turkish.

Physicians expressed concerns that new COVID-19 variants may have reached Turkey and that the lack of a national testing program made tracking them impossible. Patients can get tested in private hospitals or some centers, but these applications have not been as common as before.

Prof. Esin Davutoğlu Şenol from Gazi University emphasized that the tests were vital not only for determining the number of cases, but also for differentiating between different infections and providing appropriate treatment to those at risk.

Kırımlı also stated that they could not even administer tests for influenza and that doctors were trying to treat patients by “ancient” trial and error methods.

He pointed out that pressure from employers on sick employees to come to work contributed to the increased spread of diseases.

"There is a serious intensive care burden, especially in public hospitals, and there is an increasing need for beds. It has blocked the health system just like during the peak times of the pandemic. We are probably losing some of these patients,” Kırımlı underscored.

Prof. Şenol explained that mortality rate due to Covid-19 have increased in the United States and that a similar trend have been experienced in Turkey and that it could be said for sure since no tests have been carried out.

Şenol also noted that the number of patients would continue to climb further for the next 3-4 weeks after people come together on New Year's Eve.

She stated that influenza, RSV, and infections known as mycoplasma have also increased their impact in addition to Covid-19 as people's immunity against other viruses has weakened during pandemic.

Güçlü Yaman, who worked on “extra deaths” in the Pandemic Working Group of the TTB, drew attention to the increase in death numbers compared to the pre-pandemic period with a post on his X account on Dec. 16.

Accordingly, the number of extra deaths in Istanbul between Oct. 1 and Dec. 14 was 1,788, 13 percent above the pre-pandemic average.

Commenting on Yaman's statement, Kırımlı said that the patient density gradually increased after the mentioned dates and the number of extra deaths may have increased as well.

"Unfortunately, it has reached a fatal situation again recently," says Kırımlı.