【Free Talk】China vs UK in Hospital Building

How can China build a 1,000 bed hospital in 10 days (BBC News) whereas in the UK it takes years?

By Robin Daverman

This is not a general-purpose hospital, but an infectious-disease treatment center.

The hard part are all things you can’t see on a picture – bio-hazard control, bio-hazard disposal, air seal and circulation, all the medical equipment (especially CT scans and lung machines, since the disease attacks the lung), labs, 5G and fiber, etc. China Mobile has promised to hook up 5G to the new hospital in 3 days.

I think if the UK faces a similar situation, it may not be able to do this in 6 days, but it can definitely do this in 3 months or shorter. Frankly even if it can’t, it must!

Occupying 25,000 square meters of land, the Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital will treat pneumonia patients infected by the new coronavirus. It is expected to be completed on February 1. When it’s finished, it should be something that looks like this. Photo: Robin Daverman

The story behind building such a special-purpose hospital went back 17 years, to the 2003 SARS outbreak. Timeline of the SARS outbreak – Wikipedia A woman went to Beijing, checked into the biggest hospital, Beijing Hospital, for fever. Within 2 weeks, she was dead. Her parents, who she passed the virus to, were also dead. The first 120 patients admitted into the Beijing Hospital for this disease, ~ 90 of them were the doctors in Beijing Hospital themselves!

You see, the first ones getting the viral bombs are always either the family, or the doctors. And when the doctors get it, the hospital itself becomes a secondary center of infection! So by then you HAVE TO close down the hospital (to disinfect the facilities and put all the doctors and nurses in isolation ward), and you can’t leave the patients to “self-isolate” at home, because they are going to take their whole families down with them! Remember that most hospitals are operating at or near full capacity under normal circumstances, so with this new outbreak, what are you going to do with all your cancer patients, diabetes patients, trauma patients on the book? Then on top of that, you have to close down certain percentage of the hospitals for disinfection, and it’s going to become an absolute sh*tshow.

It looks like there are 1,000 construction workers onsite building the hospital at any given time. Photo: domus

Building a separate, infectious disease control hospital, is the only logical option. And it works, too. You can design better safety features for both the doctors and the patients, and you get to develop expertise quickly by focusing on just one thing. During the SARS epidemic, the separate infectious control hospital that China built in Beijing ended up with a 98,8% recovery rate, higher than the general hospitals. Specialization improves efficiency. Totally worth it!

This is why I think that if the UK faces a similar situation, it will have to do the same thing. It must!

Anyway, to my untrained eye, it looks like there are maybe ~ 1000 construction workers onsite at any given time, plus up to 200 diggers/heavy equipment/heave trucks. Say you want to do it 24/7, 3-shift a day, then add the surveyors/design architecture/interior/quality people, so say a 5,000 construction team. Well the UK boasts a 2-million people construction industry, so should be no problem. Not on paper. 🙂

One of the first to die in this epidemic, Dr. Liang Wudong, ENT department, Hubei Xinhua Hospital. Photo: Robin Daverman

Thousands of doctors and nurses, from all over the country, are still rushing to the stricken city right now. Real heroes.

Robin Daverman is a world traveler who is comfortable with ambiguity with 19.6K followers in Quora. He ranked as a top writer by Quora from 2016 to 2018.

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