Asthma Playing Up In Melbourne Overnight? You Were Not Alone
Hospitals across Victoria have been left reeling after an unprecedented number of people suddenly fell acutely sick on Monday evening, in what is thought to be a mass incident of ‘thunderstorm asthma.'
Ambulance Victoria were flooded with calls just before 6 PM, prompting a ‘major disaster response’ from emergency services.
The demand was so huge that they had to call in police officers, non-emergency patient vehicles and field doctors to help assists patients to a hospital.
State health Commander Paul Holman said he had never seen anything like it in his 40 years as a paramedic, with the majority of patients so sick they needed hospital treatment.
"Every ambulance and ambulance manager was recalled," he said.
"It was an unprecedented night.
"I have never seen the computer dispatch of Melbourne look like it. It was what we call a sea of red."
As the need for ambulances calmed down, it was then an issue with hospitals, with most in Melbourne and Geelong being full.
It is understood a Code Brown was called at University Hospital Geelong, which means the hospital discharges patients who are ready to go home so the emergency departments can send patients to wards, and make space for incoming people.
The last major case of thunderstorm asthma in Melbourne was in 2011 but was not nearly as bad as Monday's event.