Thunderstorm asthma surge ‘like 150 bombs at once’ – The Australian

The death toll from the asthma thunderstorm could yet rise, with eight patients across Melbourne still in intensive care yesterday — three of them critical — and health authorities admitting an unknown number of others may have died.So far four people have been identified to have died because of the freak weather event.Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said more than 8500 people surged into emergency depart­ments across the state on Monday and Tuesday amid the extraordinary asthma outbreak.She said the health system was overloaded during the event she likened to “having 150 bombs going off all over metropolitan Melbourne”, because of the dispersed nature of the emergency calls that flooded in at a rate of up to one every 4.5 seconds.The outbreak is considered one of the biggest health crises facing Victorian hospitals, dwarfing in scale the number of people treated during the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 that killed 174 people.“I know we have had some very tragic outcomes but it could have been so much worse,’’ Ms Hennessy said, adding that eight patients were still in intensive care.The Andrews government is under pressure to explain where the health and ambulance systems failed to cope on the night of the thunderstorm.

Source: Thunderstorm asthma surge ‘like 150 bombs at once’

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