Heat Wave hard on German Hospital Patients

In my previous post No A/C in German hospitals, I contemplated the lack of fans and air-conditioning in German hospitals. Additionally, most private homes are only equipped with maybe one or two fans and I have never seen one with air-conditioning.

So, once more this heatwave is affecting us all. The streets are deserted, sun blinds are drawn everywhere, no moving car in sight, and silence is draped over totally still trees. Not a breeze, not a sound, but an eerie quiescence. Occasionally, I hear an ambulance going by and it is beginning to seem a bit like the summer of 2003,  which claimed the lives of 30,000 French and German citizens.

Our local paper stated 15 – 20 hospital patients around the Hochtaunus clinics collapse in the hospital bed from the heat on a daily basis. Going in with one ailment and suffering a heat stroke causing a  Kreislaufzusammenbruch on the side does not sound like the best way to get better.

On a different note: There are different opinions on this typical German malaise of Kreislaufstörungen (circulatory problems: low blood pressure, dizziness, and feeling weak). Kreislaufstörungen might be a uniquely German obsession and seem to be at the root of many health issues. But the patients I had mentioned above actually suffered a Kreislaufkollaps when main body functions just cease to function properly for a variety of reasons  such as heat stroke, dehydration, exhaustion, etc.

Spending 10-hour days to sit with my daughter at the Unfallklinik in Frankfurt in this heat (38°C or 100F) is very hard on patients and visitors alike. Passing by the nurses’ station, we can see and hear their electric fan buzzing. But no fans are allowed for patients as electric fans and cables pose danger. A/C implementation is out of the question.

I have done my share of sending the clinic an e-mail proposing the implementation of ceiling fans when the building gets modernized in 2012.

The other day I heard a patient getting chided for using some of the crushed ice, which is usually reserved only for cooling down swollen joints, in her beverage. The nurse was even concerned that the ice might not have been made from drinkable water. Well, in this heat nobody really cares.

More and more topless men ride around the ward in a wheel chair.

This über-heat is starting to take its toll.

Truly German – Episode 01

Truly German is a new podcast that talks about the news in Germany. Sometimes this will by national news, maybe political, but we will also be covering some local topics.

We want to have some fun at the same time, so part of the podcast is our Länderquiz – in which my contestant has to guess in which Bundesland three different news stories took place in.

This week the topics are:

  1. Agreement ends strikes in German Kindergartens
  2. Swimming pool closed due to leak
  3. Divers find Mercedes in a lake
  4. German minister’s car stolen in Spain

The quiz covers the following stories:

  1. Europe’s first passive swimming pool
  2. New motorway has speed limits imposed due to heat
  3. German’s oldest steam engine

Please listen to the first episode and tell us what you think:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file

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