How To Ration Care? Exhausted Health Workers Face Most Difficult Calls Yet
The need to implement "crisis standards of care" has been a covid pandemic dread -- and is now a tragic reality for many hospitals in hard-hit areas. So how are such hard decisions made? And another consequence of an overwhelmed health care system: canceled elective surgeries delay necessary care for non-covid patients.
The Washington Post:
Hospitals Overwhelmed By Covid Are Turning To ‘Crisis Standards Of Care.’ What Does That Mean?
Long-feared rationing of medical care has become a reality in some parts of the United States as the delta variant drives a new wave of coronavirus cases, pushing hospitals to the brink. Alaska and Idaho have activated statewide “crisis standards of care,” in which health systems can prioritize patients for scarce resources — based largely on their likelihood of survival — and even deny treatment. The decisions affect covid and non-covid patients. Some health care providers in Montana have turned to crisis standards as well, while Hawaii’s governor this month released health workers from liability if they have to ration care. (Knowles, 9/22)
Alaska Plans To Help Hospitals With COVID-19 Crisis Care
Alaska officials outlined plans Wednesday to help hospitals with crisis standards of care if needed amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and announced short-term contracts for more than 400 health care personnel to relieve medical facilities with overtaxed staffs. State health commissioner Adam Crum signed an addendum to a public health emergency order that he said provides guidance to hospitals, care providers and local health authorities if the crisis standards of care are needed. (Bohrer, 9/23)
The Boston Globe:
‘I’ve Never Seen It This Bad.’ Central Mass. Hospital System Runs Out Of ICU Beds Due To COVID, Other Factors
The largest hospital system in Central Massachusetts, UMass Memorial Health, ran out of intensive care beds Wednesday as critically ill patients with deferred chronic health problems and those stricken with COVID-19 overwhelm health care providers. Dr. Eric Dickson, president and chief executive of the system, described the situation as dire, but said patients are getting the care they need. UMass has hospitals in Worcester, Marlborough, Leominster, and Southbridge. “I’ve been an emergency physician in [Worcester] for three decades, and I’ve never seen it this bad,” Dickson said. “It’s creating enormous challenges in Central Mass., with COVID still on the rise.” (Andersen and Lazar, 9/22)
The New York Times:
‘I Just Cry All The Time’: Non-Covid Patients Despair Over Delayed Care
In chronic pain, Mary O’Donnell can’t get around much. At most, she manages to walk for a short time in her kitchen or garden before she has to sit down. “It’s just frustrating at this point,” said Ms. O’Donnell, 80, who lives in Aloha, Ore. “I’m really depressed.” She had been preparing for back surgery scheduled for Aug. 31, hoping the five-hour procedure would allow her to be more active. But a day before the operation, at OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center, she learned it had been canceled. “Nope, you can’t come, our hospital is filling up,” she said she was told. (Abelson, 9/22)
In other news on the spread of the coronavirus —
Fox 5 Atlanta:
Georgia Morgues Running Out Of Space Due To 'Significant Increase In COVID Related Deaths'
A rise in COVID-19 related deaths is overwhelming some Georgia coroners' offices and medical facilities. Several facilities are running out of morgue space right now due to the significant increase in COVID-related deaths. Some are even reaching out to the state for help because they don't have anywhere to store these bodies. (Hill, 9/22)
Michigan Passes 1 Million Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
Michigan has recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the health department said Wednesday. The state crossed that threshold by reporting 6,079 new cases over the last two days. There have been at least 20,781 deaths in Michigan linked to COVID-19. (9/23)
The Washington Post:
Doctors Warn Against Nebulizing Hydrogen Peroxide For COVID Treatment
A leading asthma patient group has issued a warning against an unproven coronavirus treatment circulating on social media that is leading some people to post videos of themselves breathing in hydrogen peroxide through a nebulizer. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America called the action “concerning and dangerous” in a Tuesday blog post, emphasizing that it will neither treat nor prevent the virus and is harmful to the lungs. (Gregg, 9/22)
Reverend Jesse Jackson Leaves Rehab Hospital After Being Treated For COVID And Parkinson's Disease
Civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson left a Chicago rehabilitation hospital on Wednesday after being treated for Parkinson's disease following a breakthrough COVID-19 case, CBS Chicago reported. He spent nearly a month in treatment. ... Jackson, 79, and his wife Jacqueline Jackson, 77, both tested positive for COVID-19 in August and were treated at Northwestern University Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Jackson's civil rights organization Rainbow PUSH Coalition said on August 21. (Powell, 9/22)