Dr. Juan José Oñoro, Head of Internal Medicine at Hospital HLA Universitario Moncloa, in Madrid
Dr. Juan José Oñoro, Head of Internal Medicine at Hospital HLA Universitario Moncloa, in Madrid

“We must guarantee quality care for all our patients”

During the pandemic, the hospital was completely restructured, doubling the amount of ICU beds to attend the most serious patients. Non, the hospital is returning to a normal care status, but they remain alert to be able to adapt to all possible scenarios.

The Hospital HLA Universitario Moncloa  attended around 2,000 patients affected by, or with suspected coronavirus, of which over 600 needed hospital admission and around 40 were admitted to the ICU. But as Doctor Juan José Oñoro, Head of Internal Medicine at the hospital explains, “when looked at emotionlessly, the figures don’t tell you anything; the most difficult part was attending to such a high volume of patients in such a short period of time.”

After the first cases of Covid-19 were detected in China, the team at the hospital immediately started getting ready to face up to any possible infections. And “when the first cases started being admitted to our hospital, the so-called Covid-19 Commission was quickly created, where all the services were represented, coordinated by the medical management, with daily meetings to tackle the situation and to be able to give an early response to all the needs,” he indicates. 

The challenges

The contagions in Madrid multiplied and the hospital had to give a very quick response to the crisis. “We had to learn everything possible about a new disease very quickly. Every day, new information arrived about it and we had to try to keep up to date,” Oñoro recalls. “Another challenge involved preparing the hospital for this new situation, both from an infrastructure point of view and regarding material and personnel. And finally, the most important point, we had to guarantee quality care to all our patients,” he emphasises.

To do this, they had to fit out all the available spaces for patient care, establishing the necessary circuits and protocols for their care. And “regarding my service, the ICU, we had to double the existing beds with all the difficulties this entails, giving them the necessary equipment and personnel.” In such a complicated situation, Oñoro puts the emphasis on the hospital’s professionals, who have played a “vital” role, because “the protocols and the forecasts were not enough. Without a personal commitment to work as a team, it is all pointless. Although I have known the hospital’s personnel for many years, their commitment, not only from the professional point of view, but also from the human one, surprised me.” 

The lockdown easing 

Now that the worst months of the pandemic have passed, the hospital is immersed in returning to a normal care situation, but it remains alert. “We must be able to adapt to all the possible scenarios, but with all the accumulated experience contingency plans have been established in all the services to try to be better prepared for any situation. In several units, an elasticity plan has been established to be able to expand it as much as possible
and then return to normality when necessary.”

And regarding the lessons learnt from the pandemic, there have been many. “We have learnt about a new disease in a short period of time, with all the difficulty of adapting ourselves to it to make decisions. We have also learnt the importance of prevention and training and that we must be ready for new challenges.” 


Who he is? 

Dr. Juan José Oñoro. A specialist in Intensive Medicine, he is the head of Internal Medicine at the Hospital HLA Universitario Moncloa (Madrid).