Beaumont employees question stash of PPE, hospital denies hoarding claims

Posted at 7:04 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 19:37:51-04

(WXYZ) — Beaumont employees have been blowing the whistle on everything from hazard pay to patient care, and now some are upset about boxes of personal protective equipment (PPE) found in a local warehouse.

They’ve also been demanding answers about the future of Beaumont Wayne Hospital, which has been emptied of patients.

Employees from Beaumont Wayne Hospital say there’s no shortage of personal protective equipment at their on-site warehouse, even though the hospital is closed to patients right now.

“Just pallets and pallets of medical supplies… the place is packed,” an employee told 7 Investigator Heather Catallo.

The employee asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution, but told 7 Action news that the PPE has been there since April 2, 2020. Other employees also said they don’t understand why it appears it’s not being used in the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a global pandemic going on right now and we’re sitting on all these supplies for what? It’s just mind boggling to me,” the employee said.

Beaumont Wayne either discharged or transferred all of its COVID-19 patients last week and then closed its doors.

Beaumont Chief Operating Officer Carolyn Wilson says the warehouse is now supplying their other southern locations, even though Wayne is on “pause.”

“We’re moving supplies in and out, and its with gratitude that our supply chain has been able to get those supplies to keep our staff safe. We’re not hoarding anything -- we’re using supplies,” Wilson said.

Wilson spoke to 7 Investigator Heather Catallo today to finally address the allegations from patient families and employees that Wayne transferred all of their COVID-19 patients out in order to save money.

“Why not continue to care for the COVID patients,” Catallo asked.

“I think we did till there were just a handful remaining, and it’s really expensive and hard – when I say expensive I mean from a limited resource [standpoint]," Wilson said. "What we said from the beginning was the concern we had in caring for covid patients was not beds, we have a lot of beds at our other hospitals. It was the critical resources, these patients are really ill, and they needed ICU physicians, ICU nurses. To keep all of that staff for just a handful of patients at one site when they were desperately needed at our other campuses, it was a best use of resources kind of a decision."

The mayor of Wayne has called for a criminal investigation into why so many patients on ventilators were transferred out of the hospital.

Beaumont Wayne also brought in chillers and built a temporary morgue inside their warehouse. Employees have questioned why they did not offer that space to other hospitals in need.

“It is in use for Beaumont as an overflow temporary morgue. We are not licensed as a morgue, we’re not able to offer that service to others,” Wilson said.

Leaders in Congress, state representatives, and the Conference of Western Wayne (which represents 18 communities) have all called on Beaumont to re-open the Wayne hospital immediately. Wilson says they are committed to doing that.

“We’re looking to re-open it safely as soon as we can free up the staff to do that,” Wilson said.

She also said even though at first they will keep Wayne on standby for a second surge, they are now looking to re-open it as a regular hospital.

“We’re carefully watching that second curve but we are getting more and more comfortable that we will be reopening Wayne as an acute care hospital in the near future,” Wilson said.

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