As the coronavirus spreads rapidly through the Detroit subway, hospitals are running out of ventilators, intensive care beds, trained medical staff and personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and gowns.
Hospitals are taking drastic measures and even asking the public to donate supplies to keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
With more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus reported every day in the Detroit subway, hospitals are already rationing supplies and scrambling to add more beds.
“A lot of our hospitals, especially in Southeast Michigan, are at or near full capacity. The intensive care units are full and the emergency departments are overloaded,” said medical director Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. , during a press conference Thursday morning. “The only way we can effectively manage this epidemic is to come together and coordinate our health care resources as a state.”
At Detroit Medical Center, two patients are placed in intensive care units designed for a single patient.
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 nearly doubled every three days last week at the Beaumont Health System, the state’s largest healthcare system, with eight hospitals in the Detroit metro. Now Beaumont is sending home a higher proportion of his coronavirus patients, according to records obtained by Metro timetable.
“We have actively transferred COVID-19 patients within our system to other hospitals in Beaumont, as appropriate, if one hospital has more capacity than another,” said Carolyn Wilson, director of operations at Beaumont Health, at a press conference on March 24. “However, throughout our system, we face limitations and near capacity with our staff, personal protective equipment and mechanical ventilators.”
Last week, the death toll in hospital rose from four to 83.
The healthcare system converts operating rooms into intensive care units and transfers patients between hospitals. Wayne’s Beaumont Hospital has temporarily closed its emergency room to make room for coronavirus patients.
At the Henry Ford Health System, the number of hospital patients with coronavirus rose from 86 on March 23 to 539 on March 29. This is without counting the patients hospitalized while awaiting the tests. Two of the five hospitals in the system were at full capacity last week, said Dr Betty Chu, who is leading Henry Ford’s coronavirus response.
“We expect a significant increase in volume over the next two weeks,” Chu said at a press conference last week.
To free up space, the healthcare system is converting surgical rooms into intensive care units, adding beds to outpatient care units and redeploying its athletic trainers to help with COVID-19 care.
With ventilators in short supply, Henry Ford braces for the possibility that healthcare workers will have to decide who gets life-saving care and who doesn’t, according to a draft policy to send to nurses, system doctors, and d other health care workers.
“Some patients will be extremely ill and very unlikely to survive their illness, even with critical treatment,” the leaked memo reads. “Treating these patients would take away resources [from] patients who could survive.
The memo continues: “Patients who have the best chance of getting better are our first priority. Patients will be assessed for the best care plan and dying patients will receive comfort care.
He adds: “Patients who have a ventilator or ICU removed will receive pain control and comfort measures.”
Henry Ford officials said the note dealt with “one of the absolute worst case scenarios.”
“We hope that we never have to apply them and that we will always do everything possible to take care of our patients, using all the resources we have to make it happen”, Dr Adnan Munkarah, Executive Vice President and Director Henry Ford’s clinic, said in a written statement.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer stressed the need for fans at a press conference on Monday.
“We’re going to need thousands of more fans,” Whitmer said.
To make more room for coronavirus patients and free up staff, state hospitals have canceled elective and non-essential surgeries.
The US Army Corps of Engineers is looking for alternative sites to serve as makeshift hospitals to deal with the overflow of patients. The TCF Center (formerly Cobo Hall) in downtown Detroit has been chosen as the site for a field hospital with up to 900 beds, causing the 2020 North American International Auto Show to be canceled. .
“The state of Michigan is working around the clock and doing everything possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Whitmer said in a press release Sunday. “By moving quickly to build a large alternative care facility in Detroit, we can help save lives.
The Army Corps is looking for additional sites, including the Detroit Pistons training center and two dormitories at Wayne State University.
The state also faces a severe shortage of healthcare workers. Monday, Whitmer tweeted a video in which she brought in nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and other health professionals from out of state.
This highly contagious disease represents a significant challenge that hospitals have not faced for generations. Between 10% and 18% of COVID-19 patients require hospitalization, varying by city, according to studies.
A vast majority of the more than 5,500 beds allowed in the Detroit subway are already full, even as public health officials expect new cases to increase exponentially for another two to three weeks.
“Current models suggest we are probably several weeks away from a peak in Michigan cases,” Khaldun said Monday.. “Unfortunately, we know that several of our hospitals in the state, particularly in Southeast Michigan, are at full capacity.”
The sharp rise in new cases and deaths over the past week in Detroit has alarmed public health officials.
Detroit has become a “hot spot” and will experience “a worse week next week,” US surgeon general Jerome Adams warned on Friday. CBS this morning.
Mayor Mike Duggan said the city was bracing for the worst.
“We are preparing as if we are getting the kind of push New York has had,” Duggan said at a press conference last week. “It’s really worrying.”
With more than 7,500 confirmed infections as of Tuesday, Michigan ranks fourth in the country for the total number of confirmed cases, behind California, New Jersey and New York.
Healthcare workers are also running out of personal protective equipment, putting them and their families at risk of infection. With a staff shortage, hospitals cannot afford to lose more nurses and doctors.
“How do we protect health workers? This is a logistical problem that has not yet been fully resolved,” said Pinar Keskinocak, a Georgia Tech professor with extensive expertise and publications on pandemics. Metro timetable. “The lack of personal protective equipment is a huge problem.”
Nurses and doctors tell Metro timetable they are forced to reuse masks, gloves, and other protection recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection.
“We put ourselves at personal risk without the proper protective gear, without the tests we need, and that’s because of the failure of the administration in the past two months,” tweeted Dr Rob Davidson, Michigan emergency physician. Hospital workers, he said, “fly blindly and hope for the best.”
The Trump administration botched the rollout of COVID-19 tests and failed to provide states with the proper equipment. Last week, Trump suggested governors “try to get them yourself,” referring to essential supplies.
“Hearing the head of the federal government tell us to bypass the federal government because it’s too slow, it’s a little mind-boggling to be honest,” Whitmer said on MSNBC.
“We need respirators and ventilators and personal protective equipment.”
Trump on Saturday approved Whitmer’s request for an emergency declaration, providing additional funds for medical equipment.
“This is a good start, and it will help us protect the Michiganders and slow the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a press release.
Whitmer also called on residents to donate supplies and even volunteer to help health workers fight the spread.
“Now is the time to save lives,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon said in a press release. “Doctors, nurses, medical assistants, volunteer where we need you most. You can save lives. ”
Car manufacturers are mobilizing to produce ventilators and personal protective equipment.
Whitmer said it would take a group effort to tackle the spread.
“This crisis is frightening,” Whitmer said at a press conference. “We can bend the curve and save the health care system.”
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