Several hospitals in Prague still lack air conditioning in regular wards, particularly in intensive care units and emergency rooms.
The Czech Republic has been experiencing high temperatures since the weekend, with some areas even surpassing 36 °C. Although patients with heat-related issues have not yet flooded hospitals, some facilities have observed an increase in the number of patients in emergency rooms due to other reasons.
According to Jitka Zinke, spokesperson for the Central Military Hospital, the slight rise in patients is more attributable to the summer vacation season for general practitioners and outpatient specialists, as well as the influx of tourists and sporting events, rather than the external high temperatures.
Zinke noted that this situation occurs every year during the summer months. Hospitals gradually equip their premises with expensive air conditioning systems, typically during pavilion renovations. However, intensive care units already have standard air conditioning, as confirmed by hospital representatives.
Patients with cardiovascular diseases are particularly vulnerable to the high temperatures. At the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM), patient room cooling is centrally controlled, explained spokesperson Markéta Šenkýřová. She mentioned that problems arise when staff or patients open windows, disrupting the controlled conditions and hindering room cooling. Chronically ill individuals, especially those with cardiovascular conditions and the elderly, face the greatest risks from the elevated temperatures.
Martina Voráčková from the public relations department of Prague’s Main University Hospital highlighted that in recent days, more patients have been admitted with respiratory difficulties, exacerbation of chronic diseases, and severe dehydration due to the high temperatures. These patients receive increased fluid intake, as well as diets enriched with fruits and vegetables.
Tereza Romanova, spokesperson for the University Hospital Kralovské Vinohrady, stated that the hot season typically leads to a higher incidence of severe urinary tract infections and an increase in exhausted elderly patients who may experience collapse or a decline in cognitive function. The hospital is gradually installing air conditioners in rooms where they are currently lacking. In areas without air conditioning, fans are being utilized to improve air circulation, while staff closely monitor ventilation and ensure adequate fluid intake. Other hospitals that responded are also including more fluids, fruits, and vegetables in patients’ diets.