The other side of the ‘miracle of Ifema’

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The Community of Madrid invested 18.7 million euros in the temporary hospital that he set up at the Madrid Fair, the ‘miracle of Ifema’, as the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso called it.

By diverting patients to the 1,300 beds of that temporary clinic, the pressure on the rest of the hospitals was relieved. On March 31, when Ifema had been a health center for 10 days and was trying to solve the chaos of its premiere, there were 27,509 cases of covid-19 in the region, 15,140 people admitted to hospitals and 1,514 of them in the ucis.

It was the dramatic phase of the pandemic. Numerous contracts for the provision and maintenance of that field hospital were processed urgently which attracted television cameras and earned a congratulation from the director of the Organic Group of Epidemic Outbreaks and Emergencies of the WHO, Bruce Aylward. But that urgency has not come cheap.

Of the 18.7 million, 4.4 million were spent on supplies that would also have been spent in other hospitals if Ifema did not exist. The other 14.3 million are more related to specific items of the field hospital: assembly (176,225 euros), equipment (1.8 million), cleaning (3.9), warehouse (1.8) or laundry (1.3). These are figures given by the Ministry of Health to the Governing Council of the Community of Madrid on April 28.

Each of the 41 days that it was open, the Ifema hospital cost 457,448 euros. And, counting the 3,800 patients he housed, each admission cost 4,940 euros, not counting wages.

Each of the 41 days which was open, the Ifema hospital cost 457,448 euros

The pulmonologist and professor at the National School of Health stops with perplexity Jose Manuel Freire, Health spokesperson for the Socialist Group of the Madrid Assembly. According to their data, the cleaning of the premises (pavilions 7 and 9 of Ifema) cost 0.35 euros per square meter, when on average it costs 0.21 euros in a large hospital in Madrid, and laundry reached 111 euros per bed per day (the average in Madrid hospitals is 3.3 euros). The daily meal for the sick and the health workers cost 18.5 euros for full board (the Madrid average does not exceed 10).

All these services were outsourced to large companies. “These resources could have alleviated the situation in other hospitals that were drowned and were not being treated, such as those in Alcalá and Leganés,” laments Freire.

Sick less sick

Ifema supposed “the highest number of working beds” in all of Madrid, “with a great relief for the saturation of the other centers”, says a technical assessment of the Madrid Ministry of Health to which EL PERIÓDICO has had access.

That is one of the arguments that the Madrid government uses the most to defend that idea. That, and the successful fact that 3,800 admissions were resolved there with 3,400 registrations.

But, in Freire’s opinion, the miracle has a less than miraculous explanation. For example, the quality of patients. Ifema registered only 16 deaths (deaths) while the other centers had their morgues full. Less serious patients were referred to the Feria de Madrid hospital, and that is why the average weight of their cases (the need for attention) was 0.3970 points, when it was 0.6251 in the mean from community hospitals.

People came to the Fair with fewer complications, but also younger: “In Ifema, the mean age of those admitted was 53.4 years; In the Madrid hospitals as a whole, the average age of the Covid-19 patients was 64.5 years “notes Freire. At the Ramón y Cajal Hospital, he was 67 years old, and at the San Carlos Clinic, 68.

“Ifema made of drain for other hospitals – Freire thinks – but the main function they gave him was media. And if it was a mistake to mount it when the capacity around existing hospitals should have been increased, it was also a mistake to dismantle it on May 1 if they anticipated another wave of the pandemic. “



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