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Impact of Climate Change on the Healthcare System

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Climate change is a topic that, over the past few years, has been discussed multiple times. We have seen the devastating effects of climate change globally. Climate change has affected humans environmentally, physically, mentally, financially, and many more. This article will be focused on how climate change affects the healthcare system.

According to a 2019 study, “...the total health-related costs from 916 deaths, 20,568 hospitalizations and 17,857 emergency department visits of $10.0 billion in 2018 dollars.” Many devastating effects of disasters resulting from climate change require healthcare services and provisions. These disasters often affect healthcare facilities, hospitals, and health centers, making them difficult to access. The reliability of these facilities in their various locations has impacted the health and economies of the people in those locations. Climate change pushes up healthcare costs. The costs of repairing the damages caused by a hurricane or severe flooding increased healthcare costs.

Climate change has reduced the quality of care received from hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Hospitals may need to evacuate; facilities may experience power outages, interrupting supply chains, experiencing shortages in healthcare tools and materials, and other unknown disruptions. In the United States, nurses and doctors had to stand slowly and inject medications through syringes instead of using an IV bag because of a shortage of IV bags. “Shutting down operating rooms because there’s so much wildfire smoke your instruments can’t be kept sterile, then you know climate change is affecting healthcare.” - Healthcare worker from Canada.

Climate change emphasizes and often worsens health conditions and diseases like Asthma, Malaria, cardiovascular illnesses, and mental illnesses. It also contributes to homelessness, hunger, and social and political unrest. Climate change affects every aspect of healthcare, our lives, and the world. Solutions to these problems are being implemented slower than the effects impact our lives and the earth. All of us, as humans, are responsible for reducing the catalyst to climate change unless, as we have been warned, there would be even greater consequences.

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