At a Top Hospital in Mexico, 110 People Died Waiting for ICU Beds

One hospital in Mexico City was so saturated during the first wave of the pandemic that more than a hundred Covid-19 patients who participated in a study died after they couldn’t get an ICU bed.

The study was carried out at the prestigious public hospital Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion Salvador Zubiran from Feb. 26 to June 5, 2020 and involved 800 adults with a confirmed Covid diagnosis. Billionaire Carlos Slim was treated there for the virus late last month.

Of the 241 patients who died, 46% needed an ICU bed but didn’t receive one because none were available, the study found. Both the city and federal government have said they’ve never run out of beds, touting it as one of the measures that they say shows the pandemic is under control.

The study was done during the first wave of the pandemic. The second wave, which started over the December holidays, broke records for hospitalizations, deaths and cases across the country.

Mexico City’s government referred questions to the hospital, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mexico has taken a lax approach to the virus, refusing to restrict people’s movements or ban international flights. Instead it’s called on citizens to self-regulate their activities. The nation has also been plagued by under-testing for the virus, and despite a recent increase, still has one of the highest positivity rates in the world. It recently passed India to have the third-most Covid-19 deaths in the world, with a total of 162,922 fatalities reported as of Thursday night.

At a Top Hospital in Mexico, 110 People Died Waiting for ICU Beds

“High poverty indexes, lack of access to appropriate medical care and geographical location are major determinants for mortality among Mexican patients,” the study reads. “To this data we may add the alarming situation of emergency department/critical care areas overcrowding and its impact in patient outcomes.”

The study’s authors received no specific funding for the work, which was published by the Public Library of Science on Feb. 3.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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