Hospitals confront climate change as patients sick from floods and fires crowd ERs

6 October 2021

The emergency room at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center was unprepared when triple-digit temperatures hit the Pacific Northwest this summer. Doctors competed to treat homeless people, elderly patients with chronic illnesses, and illnesses that were exacerbated by overdose of drug users.

Dr. Jeremy Hess, an emergency physician and professor of environment and profession, said: health University of Washington Science.

Doctors, nurses and hospitals are increasingly seeing patients suffering from climate-related problems, from overheating to wildfire smoke inhalation and even infectious diseases. One recent assessment predicts that annual heat deaths in the United States could reach nearly 60,000 by 2050.

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