Analysis | Climate change is pushing hospitals to tipping point – The Washington Post

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Climate Change

Comment on this storyCommentGift ArticleGood morning! Climate 202 researcher Vanessa Montalbano is taking over today while Maxine is on vacation this week.¬†ūüö®: In today’s edition, we have an exclusive about a bipartisan group of former Environmental Protection Agency administrators who are pushing the Senate to quickly confirm David Uhlmann as head of the EPA’s enforcement office. More on that below. But first:Climate change is pushing hospitals to tipping pointWhen an unprecedented heat wave baked the Pacific Northwest last July, emergency rooms sought any way possible to lower the core body temperatures of patients coming in droves with heat-related ailments.¬†Many emergency departments in the region began putting people in body bags filled with ice to help safely adjust their temperatures. But despite their lifesaving efforts, around 1,000 excess deaths occurred from the brutal heat.¬†AdvertisementThe scramble to save lives paints the challenging reality that many hospitals and medical workers are facing again this year as severe weather-related health emergencies escalate because of extreme climate events.¬†‚ÄúWe unfortunately had a real live stress test here for the Pacific heat dome because the temperatures were so high and we had a 69-fold increase in hospital-related presentations,‚ÄĚ said Kristie L. Ebi, the founder of the center for health and global environment at the University of Washington.¬†At the same time, the health care sector contributes significantly to the worsening climate crisis, representing nearly 8.5 percent of all U.S. emissions.¬†According to an analysis conducted by World Weather Attribution, that excessive heat wave was made at least 150 times more likely from human-induced climate change.¬†AdvertisementLast fall, the editors of over a dozen health journals from across the globe simultaneously published a joint editorial calling for urgent climate action to avert catastrophic warming. Without it, the editorial said, rising temperatures will lead to more deaths from heart and lung illness, allergies, kidney problems and pregnancy complications.¬†‚ÄúThe greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5¬į C and to restore nature,‚ÄĚ the authors wrote.The New England Journal of Medicine went one step further this spring in launching a series focused on highlighting health hazards linked to planet-warming pollution, our colleague Sarah Kaplan reports.Renee Salas, a researcher at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard University and contributor to the series, says that doctors have a moral obligation to speak out against fossil-fuel use and other planet-warming activities.Advertisement‚ÄúThe burning of fossil fuels, the root cause of both air pollution and climate change, threaten medicine’s core …

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