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Cold weather leaves hospitals overcrowded with patients

The China Post news staff and CNA -- Aside from low temperatures, the cold front also brought hoards of patients into the emergency rooms of several hospitals in Taiwan over the weekend for an array of ailments surprisingly not related to the common cold.

Most of the patients were suffering from chronic diseases, said a doctor at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in New Taipei City on Sunday.

Nearly 600 patients were reported at the hospital's emergency room the previous day, about 33 percent more than usual, he added.

According to the Linkou Hospital Minister for Emergency Medicine Chen Jih-chang, the low temperatures of the past few days can cause blood vessels to contract, resulting in a sudden surge in blood pressure or burst vessels. The hospital had seen a hike in the number of stroke and vascular disease patients over the past few days, as well as many elderly patients from nursing homes, many of whom have contracted infectious diseases.

The emergency room, where the temperature is lower than other wards, was so cold that some patients brought their own sleeping bags and blankets to keep warm, the doctor said.

Meanwhile, Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei City provided a blanket heater in its emergency ward.

Lu Li-hua, head of the emergency room at Tung's Taichung Metro Harbor Hospital in Taichung City, central Taiwan, said the cold weather had led to so many hospital admissions that some patients in the internal medicine's intensive care unit (ICU) had to be moved to other departments.

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