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Friday’s Top Stories: Children’s hospital ‘swamped’ by record surge in respiratory cases; cancer patients ‘dying in cold homes’, survey finds

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Children’s hospital ‘swamped’ by record surge in respiratory cases

Record levels of a common respiratory illness that particularly affects babies is putting children’s hospitals under unprecedented pressure. Almost 1,000 cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) were notified to authorities last week, and almost 370 patients, most of them children, were hospitalised.

Case numbers and hospitalisations are already almost twice as high as last winter, which was regarded as very severe for RSV. Meanwhile, cases of flu, while relatively low, near doubled last week.

The surge in cases has led to extreme overcrowding at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin and forced the cancellation of other work. “We’re absolutely swamped,” said Prof Suzanne Crowe, consultant in paediatric intensive care at the hospital. “It’s been a really terrible season so far.”

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