Why are There Fewer Hospital Beds Available in West Michigan Than Ever Before?
Amid reports that Spectrum Health System and other healthcare providers are near or at record capacity, people are trying to figure out why the hospitals are busier than even during the height of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Spectrum Health System (including Blodgett, Butterworth, and Helen DeVos Children's Hospital) reported that they are currently treating more than 1,100 patients.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joshua Kooistra says that a large portion of those patients have Covid-19, including a record high case rate for kids:
Our hospital is the fullest that it's ever been," Dr. Kooistra says. Of those patients, 272 have COVID-19. 15 of them are children, which is a record high during the pandemic...This surge kind of got off to a slower start, but the numbers continue to increase every day. And it's been protracted. So, we've been experiencing this surge for the last, you know, two and a half, three months, and we're at the highest that we've been in that point in time.
85% of the COVID-19 patients in the system are not vaccinated. For those in the ICU, 94% are not vaccinated.
In a reddit thread discussing the quickly filling health system, some who say they work within the system feel free to anonymously share their thoughts on the matter:
I work there so can speak from first-hand experience. It's not just COVID. It's COVID + everything else. Even without covid we'd be struggling. With the extra acuity from COVID the system is pushed to its limit. Being a quarternary/referral center for west mi SH can't go on diversion or smaller places would collapse right away. It's a nightmare. The nurses are overworked, the ED and hospital physicians are seeing a dangerous number of patients. It's a lot.
I've been there for 9 years. 1100 patients are more than we had at the "height." It's not just covid, as he said in the article, it's everything. The acuity is bonkers so more people are needing admission. We opened yet another surgical space to take admitted patients yesterday which has not happened before. OR nurses are taking assignments despite not having been bedside in years. Endoscopy is next. We're now sending people up when their room isn't clean, to have them sit in the hallway, which... Also hasn't happened before. Over 50% of the ER was holds the other night and it keeps happening every day, so those beds can't be used for incoming ER patients. We opened a second waiting room for a bit too because we physically had no space to put people in the waiting room. Metro has gone on diversion multiple times in the last week. Even Saints did recently.
So if these comments are true, we're seeing the unvaccinated pushing these hospitals to the brink in West Michigan.