“Round after round of Covid.” Military personnel help Michigan hospital inundated with Covid patients and understaffed

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By Jack Hannah, Jason Carroll and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Zafar Shamoon, chief of the emergency department at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan, said he had hoped that there would be no other wave of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations.

But, like a sinister déjà vu, hospital beds are full again with Covid-19 patients, most not vaccinated. This time, those numbers are made worse by a greater number of non-Covid-19 patients, who doctors say may have delayed their surgeries and treatments or stayed at home in previous outbreaks.

In this hospital, and in hospitals across the country, numbers are down because of quits, widespread burnout after more than a year of fighting the virus on the front lines and, in some cases, fear of contracting the disease.

To help supplement hospital staff, the Department of Defense sent nearly two dozen members of the U.S. military to help fill in the gaps and treat the roughly 500 patients the facility treats these days.

Throughout the pandemic, the military has sent personnel to help the coronavirus response in state hospitals like New York, Texas, and Louisiana that were stretched after an influx of patients.

About 130 of the patients at Dearborn hospital have been diagnosed with Covid, said David Claeys, president of Beaumont, Dearborn and Farmington Hills hospitals. Across the Beaumont hospital system, there are nearly 600 Covid-19 patients.

Staff say they really need help.

“Our (emergency rooms) have never been so full, our (intensive care units) have never been so full,” Shamoon said. “The coming of the Department of Defense was really a breath of fresh air.”

Hospitals across the United States are facing a triple whammy: staff shortages, an influx of non-Covid-19 patients and dangerous variants of the virus that are on the rise.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine this week deployed more than 1,000 National Guard members to state hospitals. In Oregon, authorities have warned that a push fueled by the new Omicron variant could overwhelm hospitals and exceed the number of patients who Delta surge premiered earlier this year.

California health officials said on Friday they saw the number of hospitalizations start to rise, highlighting the need for vaccinations and booster shots. At New York, Officials said this week they were recording the highest hospitalization rate they have seen in months, with Governor Kathy Hochul noting that staff shortages will weigh on potential further restrictions.

“Sometimes I go home and wonder how my staff is going to handle this the next day, but we do,” Shamoon said. “There are so many heroic and untold stories happening daily within the walls of this hospital, too many to count in fact. That’s what brings me back.

Unvaccinated patients wish they had been vaccinated

In Michigan, health authorities noted State hospitals are “overloaded” with Covid-19 patients, most of whom are unvaccinated, on Friday.

Army Nursing Officer Lt. Col. Theresa Nowak said the team’s mission is to integrate into hospital wards that need help so patients can get care. they need and be released faster.

Across the Beaumont system, of the 583 patients treated for the virus, 443 had not received their vaccines, and of the 74 in an intensive care unit, 55 were not vaccinated, according to system data. hospital.

“Our unvaccinated patients, most of whom are in the hospital, will say, ‘I now want to be vaccinated. It’s not worth it, ”said Lissa Maddox, who has been a registered nurse for almost two years. “Our patients are sick, they are very sick and 100% of them will tell you that they would have liked to have been vaccinated.”

It’s disheartening, “Maddox added,” But, you know, everyone has a choice. “

Sara Pristavu, a 25-year-old Covid-19 patient at the hospital who has not shared her immunization status with CNN, said she was grateful to the staff. Getting the vaccine, Pristavu told CNN, should be a personal choice, but urged Americans to be wary of the virus.

“To each his own,” she said. “Whatever you feel is right, it’s how you feel and if you decide to do it, so much the better. If you decide it’s not for you, so much the better.

Pristavu said her father, who is in his 60s, is in the same hospital with the virus.

“Round after round”

Across the country, around 68,900 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, according to to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. More than 20% of all intensive care beds in use are occupied by Covid-19 patients, data shows.

After several virus outbreaks across the country, and now over 800,000 Americans dead, many health professionals have retired. Others, severely burned and traumatized, to the left.

“At first we had help. And after we did round after round of Covid, we started to lose more and more staff, ”said Crystal Kopriva, deputy clinical director in the hospital’s current Covid unit.

Military personnel who have worked at the hospital for about two weeks include intensive care nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and a command and control team.

Lt. Col. Don Dendy told CNN that prior to being stationed there, he was helping at a hospital in Mississippi.

“Before Covid, in the military, I never really saw missions like this, where we went out and filled hospitals in the United States,” he said.

But Dendy added that he was happy the military could help because he understands the pressure healthcare workers face, who in the pre-pandemic times were already facing staff shortages.

“People are like, I can’t do that many shifts and keep working overtime,” Dendy said.

Health care workers at the hospital said all they can do is treat patients the best they can and continue to encourage vaccinations.

“Am I going to break up in three months?” will I break in a year? will I break in 10? I don’t have that answer for you at the moment, ”Maddox said. “I’m fighting this with my patients and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. “

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