The Flu Season Brings Havoc To Los Angeles Area Hospitals

Ana Oktay sought answers from a Los Angeles area hospital in late December when she found it hard to breathe and her fever rose to 102 degrees. To add to her list of discomforts the 49-year-old woman had a cough that would not stop.

Oktay was fully expecting doctors to inform her that she was suffering from pneumonia or bronchitis but was greeted with the news that it was instead the influenza virus A.

The specific influenza A strain, H3N2 has been responsible for thousands of area residents arriving at overburdened area hospitals in search of relief.

Oktay is adamant that in her life she has never experienced such severe flu symptoms and also says she was bedridden ‘for 10 days.’

As the flu season continues it is quite likely that this season will be remembered as one of the worst in California history.

Hospitals statewide are taking extreme measures in response to flu epidemic including soliciting the services of nurses from other states and disallowing visitation by children of loved ones in an effort to slow the spreading of the flu. There are also reports of hospitals canceling less serious surgeries and setting up triage centers in tents located in hospital parking lots.

Dr. James McKinnell, an infectious disease specialist at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, says that members of his staff have been working long hours to address the needs of waves of sick patients beginning in late December. McKinnell also reports that many patients the hospital has seen are seriously ill with combinations of flu and pneumonia while some are even affected by multiple flu strains.

The Loma Linda University Medical Center staff has triaged a high number of flu patients since the start of the year an there is now a giant camping tent in the hospital’s emergency room parking lot in order to facilitate services to those afflicted with the flu.

Connie Cunningham, the hospital’s executive director says the original plan was to use the tent for only a few days. However, the hospital is still treating more than 50 patients a day more than what is usual for this point in the flu season. Cunningham has expressed that she has never seen anything like this year’s flu season.

More information on this year’s turbulent flu season and its effect on the Los Angles area of California can be seen at LATIMES.com


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