Hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 call on state to do more to spread patients out

Posted at 5:24 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 09:44:07-04

(WXYZ) — As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage southeast Michigan – medical leaders are calling on the state to do more to help spread patients out across hospital systems.

Nurses and hospital leadership are getting more and vocal about the need for better coordination and for supplies.

"We were told to leave, we refuse to accept unsafe patient load - 25 patients to one nurse," nurses from DMC Sinai Grace Hospital said on a Facebook video overnight.

The nurses used Facebook as they left the hospital, alleging their working conditions were unsafe. Hospital officials say other nurses stepped in to help care for patients.

Meanwhile, Beaumont Health CEO John Fox is calling for better coordination between the state and other hospitals.

"The goal is to get the patient treated faster in a more timely way, obviously in a clinically appropriate way, and not have to wait," Fox said.

Fox told CNN he wants more real-time data from the state so that when Beaumont ERs get inundated, they can safely send coronavirus patients to other hospitals that have room for them.

Because with these patients, when they’re presenting, with their respiratory issues related to COVID-19, there’s a shot clock out there where they’re going to continue to deteroriate, unless they start to get therapy relatively quickly," he added.

Ruthanne Sudderth of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association said they are helping members work with the state so patient care and personal protective equipment can be coordinated.

"We are trying to determine who can take COVID patients or non-COVID patients, and encouraging direct communication between those hospitals," she said. "We’re encouraging them to report that daily by the same time every day, so as they check that and send resources out to hospitals – it’s as real time as possible."

Beaumont also issued a new policy for it’s “all hands on deck” approach to the pandemic.

While dozens of healthcare workers have voluntarily come out of retirement to help on the frontlines, other current nurses and doctors will be redeployed to work with COVID-19 patients.

Staff with legitimate health concerns can refuse the reassignment, but for others, the policy states, “if they choose not to accept redeployment, they will be considered to have voluntarily resigned from employment and will not be eligible for future reemployment.”

"I can’t tell you how much we appreciate them putting themselves on the front line of this battle, because it is a battle," Sudderth said.

"We are doing everything we can to make sure you are safe and healthy, because what you’re doing is nothing short of heroic, and we just so appreciate it," she added.

We also learned today that more than 600 employees within the Henry Ford Health system have tested positive – that represents about 2% of their employees.

As of Monday, Michigan has 17,221 cases and 727 deaths from the virus.

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