Overwhelmed Hospitals Fret As Reinforcements Get Tougher To Find
At Wisconsin's Mayo Clinic Health System, “a bed is a gift right now,” said one administrator.
As Hospitals Fill With COVID-19 Patients, Medical Reinforcements Are Hard To Find
Hospitals in much of the country are trying to cope with unprecedented numbers of COVID-19 patients. As of Sunday, 93,238 were hospitalized, an alarming record that far exceeds the two previous peaks in April and July, of just under 60,000 inpatients. But beds and space aren't the main concern. It's the work force. Hospitals are worried that staffing levels won't be able to keep up with demand, as doctors, nurses and specialists such as respiratory therapists become exhausted or, worse, become infected or sick themselves. (Farmer and Feibel, 11/30)
The New York Times:
How US Hospitals Are Stretched Way Too Thin Due To Covid-19
In excruciating pain with lesions on her face and scalp, Tracey Fine lay for 13 hours on a gurney in an emergency room hallway. All around her, Covid-19 patients filled the beds of the hospital in Madison, Wis. Her nurse was so harried that she could not remember Ms. Fine’s condition, and the staff was slow to bring her pain medicine or food. In a small rural hospital in Missouri, Shain Zundel’s severe headache turned out to be a brain abscess. His condition would typically have required an operation within a few hours, but he was forced to wait a day while doctors struggled to find a neurosurgeon and a bed — finally at a hospital 375 miles away in Iowa. (Abelson, 11/27)
The Washington Post:
Inside A Hospital As The Coronavirus Surges: Where Will All The Patients Go?
As the coronavirus pandemic swelled around the 160-bed Mayo Clinic hospital, the day was dawning auspiciously. Two precious beds for new patients had opened overnight. At the morning “bed meeting,” prospects for a third looked promising. Better yet, by midmorning, there were no patients in the Emergency Department. None. Even in normal times, a medium-size hospital like this can go many months without ever reaching zero. Everyone knew better than to trust this good fortune. They were right. (Bernstein, 11/29)
Providers Try To Address Care Delays As COVID-19 Continues
Like many primary-care physicians across the country, Dr. Trevor Huber is using telehealth to triage patients for COVID-19 symptoms. In one of these recent visits, a man in his mid-60s was complaining of chest pain, thinking it may be the virus. Huber wasn’t convinced, urging him to come into his practice in Little Elm, Texas, right away to make sure he wasn’t having a heart attack. After hooking the patient up to an electrocardiogram, it was clear the patient was in cardiac arrest. Huber’s team called 911 right away. (Castellucci, 11/28)
'I'm Scared. Are You Scared?': A Michigan Mom's Harrowing Story Of Leaving Her Autistic Son To Fight COVID-19 Alone In The Hospital
In the emergency room of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan, Pam Warfle begged for compassion. Her autistic son had COVID-19 and needed to be hospitalized, though the staff informed her she couldn't stay." 'You don't understand. You're going to have to carry me out of here. He cannot communicate,'" Warfle recalled telling the doctors and nurses as she pleaded to stay. " 'You can put me in bubble wrap. I'll stay in a corner.' "But the hospital wouldn't bend: "We cannot do it," they said. (Baldas, 11/29)
In other health care industry news —
Thousands Of Doctors’ Offices Buckle Under Financial Stress Of COVID
Cormay Caine misses a full day of work and drives more than 130 miles round trip to take five of her children to their pediatrician. The Sartell, Minnesota, clinic where their doctor used to work closed in August. Caine is one of several parents who followed Dr. Heather Decker to her new location on the outskirts of Minneapolis, an hour and a half away. Many couldn’t get appointments for months with swamped nearby doctors. (Ungar, 11/30)
North Carolina Health News:
Done Deal: How Mission Health Wooed HCA
The news stunned Asheville and Western North Carolina, where Mission Health System Inc. was the area’s largest employer, its main healthcare provider, and a long-time source of civic pride. Seemingly out of the blue, Mission’s directors publicly announced on March 21, 2018, that they had voted to sell the 133-year-old nonprofit to HCA Healthcare, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, for an estimated $1.5 billion. “To say that [Mission’s] announcement … was a surprise would be an understatement,” the Asheville Citizen Times observed in an editorial. “There has not been the slightest hint anything was afoot until Mission announced that its board had approved the deal unanimously.” (Lewis, 11/26)
North Carolina Health News:
Mission Sale: Good For WNC, Or Just HCA?
Years from now, the decision in 2018 by the directors of Mission Health to sell to HCA Healthcare might be seen as a brilliant strategic maneuver, one that guaranteed affordable, high-quality healthcare for future generations of western North Carolinians. This was, and still is, the position of the directors and executives who pushed the deal. (Lewis, 11/27)