It’s happening again. Hospital I.C.U.s are swamped with patients suffering from severe respiratory illnesses. Overworked doctors and nurses are scrambling to save lives. Another surge of infections, another national health crisis.
But this time it’s not just Covid-19. It’s respiratory syncytial virus and other viruses, too. And the patients now include many young children.
As the Opinion video above argues, this crisis is not simply the result of a sharp rise in case numbers. The wave of respiratory illnesses in recent months has revealed a health care industry ill equipped to care for critically ill children.
Profit-driven management has eroded pediatric health care in America. Health care providers make more money treating adults than they do children. As a result, the number of hospitals offering pediatric care has decreased dramatically over the past two decades.
So when the number of R.S.V. cases skyrocketed in late 2022, the American health care system wasn’t prepared. Hospitals were overwhelmed, and families struggled to find appropriate care. And once again, the nation’s health care workers have shouldered much of the burden, going to extraordinary lengths to care for society’s most vulnerable.
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