Large or small, Michigan hospitals feel the 'pinch' of nearing capacity

emergency hospital sign
Posted at 9:55 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 23:14:24-05

MONROE, Mich. (WXYZ) — No matter the size of the hospital or location, emergency rooms seem to be near capacity.

“As soon as we have patients that are able to be discharged, we have other patients in the ER waiting to take those rooms," President of ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital Darrin Arquette said.

A "revolving door" is how Arquette describes the situation in the ER.

“We’ve been operating at about 100% of our bed capacity. That’s about 120 beds," he said.

About 23 of those beds are for the intensive care unit and almost half of them are taken by COVID-19 patients.

According to the statewide bed tracking dashboard as of Wednesday Dec. 15, there are 11 COVID-19 patients in the ICU at Monroe Regional.

“The vast majority of people that we have in the hospital like all the other hospitals that have COVID are there because they are unvaccinated," Arquette said.

Another trend he is seeing are Level 1 and Level 2 trauma hospitals are at capacity and sometimes not able to accept patients from Monroe Regional.

“Over the weekend, that caused some of our pinch point. A lot of the other hospitals weren’t accepting any transfers, so we had to maintain those ICU patients at Monroe," he said

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says the stress on hospitals is a major concern of hers.

"Let's be clear: The more unvaccinated people that are getting COVID-19 and landing in the hospital threatens all of us. If you are in a car accident, you want to know that the people in the hospital can care for you and there is a bed for you and right now, that's not the case," Whitmer said.

Staffing is also a major concern for hospitals.

“For the last four weeks, it’s kind of been a daily issue for us trying to fill slots because people can’t come in for various reasons," Arquette said.

He says even though this is the reality, staffing shortages or bed capacity shouldn't stop anyone who needs immediate care.

“If we are busy, the house is full, we always maintain those patients under our physicians care until a bed is available," he said.

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