Patients at Beijing hospitals bemoan lack of beds and rooms

People rush into Peking Union Hospital in Beijing April 6, 2016. — Reuters pic

Image shows patients struggling to get tickets at a hospital.

Peking University First Hospital, one of the best hospitals in China, has recently been swarmed with patients and the number is increasing everyday due to air pollution from coal-powered power stations and steel plants.

The Chinese government declared war on the putty-colored smog earlier this year but efforts seem not to be yielding fruits. And people are dying as a result. 

China smog

Image shows a Beijing residents wearing masks to survive the harmful air.

Worse still, hospitals in Beijing have been unable to provide sick people with rooms and beds. Consequently, emergency rooms have been turned into halls and people are allowed to bring along their private folding beds.

Beijing Youth Daily reporters visited the emergency wing of the hospital to confirm reports that observation rooms are fully occupied.

Reporters also visited Beijing Hospital, Beijing Friendship Hospital and Capital Medical University but found the hospitals also had corridors full of beds.

A visit at the corridor of Peking’s transfusion room showed patients are receiving treatments on their own beds. Other patients in the corridor of the emergency department had their own folding beds, too.

The hospital, also known as Beijing Medical Hospital is so jam-packed that staff nurses could only pass by walking sideways, Beijing Today reported.

A nursing assistant said the hospital sold out its rooms and hospital beds, so patients were asked to purchase beds from a shop across the street. The folding beds are similar to military cots.

Average daily Air Quality Index categories for Beijing 2008 to 2015

According to media reports, people are suffering different kinds of ailments ranging from common flu to cancer.

Air pollution in China has been a matter of serious concern in the past years. Beijing issued its first “red-alert” on pollution earlier this year.

As a temporary measure, schools, factories and construction sites were closed.  About half of all private cars were also ordered off the roads.

Image shows a traffic policeman on duty in Beijing.

Living in Beijing isn’t safe anymore and the government has mapped out plans to relocate millions of people away from the capital city but many are reluctant to leave their jobs and others have reasons to stay against warnings from the government.

However, citizens are taking precautions against the sticky gray smog by wearing masks on daily basis.

Living in Beijing is like signing a death warrant and those who dared to stay are suffering seriously for their decisions.

“Even with air purifiers in homes, pollution exceeds the norm,” said Li Ting, in an interview granted to CNBC earlier this year. She’s a chief representative for the Rocky Mountain Institute in China. “It’s severe and really scary. We can’t go outside much.”

Reports say life expectancy in Beijing has been cut by 5 years due to pollution.

The owner of the newsstand outside Peking University First Hospital said he sold two kinds of beds for 80 yuan and 130 yuan, depending on materials. Patients could also rent the beds for 30 yuan per day.

At the shop inside the hospital, beds that are higher and have rails and padding can be rented for 60 yuan per day.

According to hospital records, Peking University First Hospital receives 300 emergency patients per day but has only 63 beds in the department. Beijing Friendship Hospital receives more than 300 patients per day, but its emergency department has only 30 beds.

People wait to enter Peking Union Hospital early in the morning in Beijing April 6, 2016. — Reuters pic

Image shows patients waiting to get tickets at Beijing’s Peking hospital.

Richard Muller [Berkeley Earth Scientific Director and study co-author] said in a news release published by Discovery: “Air pollution is the greatest environmental disaster in the world today. 

“When I was last in Beijing, pollution was at the hazardous level; every hour of exposure reduced my life expectancy by 20 minutes. It’s as if every man, women, and child smoked 1.5 cigarettes each hour”.