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Tired nurses are treating too many patients in hospitals suffering from Omicron

Houston Methodist Hospital, The latest pandemic surgeOne recent morning, there were too few nurses to open all the beds.

Six nurses were hired by a dispatching company a few days ago. Dozens more people became ill with Covid-19. The remaining people were working extra time to help the hospital respond to the daily crushing of new, highly ill patients.

“Today, I don’t run a hospital of the same size as it was two months ago,” said Roberta Schwartz, head of incident command at the hospital.

In the emergency room, three dozen patients were waiting for bed, but another 75 people seeking transfer from another hospital were waiting for space, she said.

A fast-moving variant of Omicron Is burdening US hospitals on a scale never seen before in a pandemic two years ago.The facility is facing Patient record or near record level While the staff is suffering from burnout Invite a large number of sick people It is due to a virus.Even hospitals in the area where the waves of Omicron began to soften, they said they couldn’t catch up and were forced to make a painful decision. Desperate patients they can admit And it has to wait and runs the risk of more serious illness.

“Last week, we had 1,100 new positive cases for our employees, so we have no choice,” Schwartz said, while the Houston Methodist Hospital closed an average of about 140 beds a day. Of staffing.

sign The latest surge may have peaked Some parts of the United States, including Houston and New York, are giving hope to overburdened hospitals. However, in some hospitals, hospitalization is delayed and illness is starting to decrease, Covid-19 cases continue to grow elsewhere..

In addition to the challenges facing hospitals, the tight labor market has led many nurses to go to more profitable jobs at dispatch companies.

Meanwhile, the cumulative physical and mental casualties of nurses, doctors and other hospital staff have increased due to the repeated surge of two years.

Nikki Saranasan, a nurse at the Houston Methodist Hospital, said: “It exhausts you.”

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The Multi-Tower Houston Methodist Hospital is located in the south central part of the city. Operated during an influenza pandemic about 100 years ago, the hospital has gained a reputation for orthopedic surgery and treatment of heart disease when a coronavirus pandemic occurs.

During the recent surge, the number of Covid-19 cases began to increase before Christmas. Soon, the pandemic patient overcrowded the hospital’s 39-bed emergency room, overtook the beds for heart disease, stroke, and other patients, and forced the hospital to stop unnecessary treatment.

The Houston Methodist Hospital currently accepts about 200 patients daily, 40% more than usual, Schwartz said. This is about one-fifth of the 1,000 beds in a hospital. However, due to the surge, she was unable to use all the beds. Of the 8,600 workers in the hospital, 430 became ill in the day when Covid-19 peaked.

Blue and white Nikki Saranasan started a 12-hour day shift at the Houston Methodist Hospital and was briefed by night shift nurse Cheryl Abraham.

Saranasan, who works in the middle unit of the Houston Methodist Hospital for sick patients who don’t need intensive care but is too sick in other departments, started a recent shift with an alarm ringing on Covid-19. Be patient, informing you of a drop in oxygen levels.

She chose her career at the age of 15 after seeing a hospice nurse take care of her grandmother, who had died of cancer, and comfort her mother, aunt, and uncle.

Her Covid-19 patient with dyspnea, Torey Boykin, was fully vaccinated and received a booster shot. However, the 52-year-old was vulnerable to the virus because he had a double lung transplant three years ago.

Two weeks after his recent hospitalization, Boykin still needed a machine to pump air into his lungs. “From the nose,” Saranasan told him how to use a machine to breathe properly. “Get out of your mouth”

She said that oxygen alerts and rushing to insert the respiratory tract into the throat of Covid-19 patients are characteristic of recent changes. Many of the recent Covid-19 patients in the hospital are severely ill and suffer from hypoxic levels, arrhythmias or strokes and require close attention.

Due to too much work these days, Saranasan could only pause for lunch 10 hours before the 12-hour shift.

Units on the 9th floor usually treat patients without Covid-19, but are flipping beds for pandemic treatment during the Omicron surge. On this day, Boykin was one of nine virus patients, no one a week ago.

The latest Covid-19 patient in the unit had just arrived after waiting 26 hours in an empty space in the emergency room.

One of the unit’s 19 beds was closed for several months due to chronic staff shortages. Nurse manager Belinda Mets said the unit was short of two nurses last evening and was at risk of closing at least three beds without replacement.

Mets said he was asking staff to work overtime and help to offset the crunch. The hospital also has additional nurses from staffing agencies and other nurses assigned by the state, asking some nurses to take care of more patients than usual during each shift. Did.

Saranasan said she has one more 12-hour shift in addition to the two she normally plans to help. Still, she turns her back more, she said, because tolls are so high.

“Emotionally, there are many,” she said.

Nurse Nikki Saranasan lights a candle for a patient who died in Covid-19.

A Catholic, she attends a holiday morning mass and lights a prayer candle for a patient at home.

She said the patient had to die alone because the hospital restricted visitors to prevent infection.

Saranasan asked when death would stop. After working as a nurse for 22 years, she considered quitting, but said she would feel guilty about not helping her.

“I feel like we’re not winning,” she said. “I feel like we’re losing. Two years later, we’re still losing this fight.”

Hospitals in the United States are having a hard time staffing medical facilities as the wave of Covid-19 cases is on the sidelines of healthcare workers. Some hospital managers are forced to resort to last resort to ensure the quality of care. Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP / Getty Images

Write in Melanie Evans at Melanie.Evans@wsj.com

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Tired nurses are treating too many patients in hospitals suffering from Omicron

Source link Tired nurses are treating too many patients in hospitals suffering from Omicron

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