We’ve heard plenty of horror stories about the state of US hospitals at present, both from the perspective of COVID-19 and the state of health care in general. A reader who’s a nurse wrote to me this week describing conditions at her hospital. She gave me permission to share her message, provided she was not identified in any way.
There are no inpatient beds; we’re swamped.
Last weekend, we were holding 16 admissions on gurneys in our ER that there were no beds for upstairs. Some KungFlu, some other stuff. The biggest problem is that admin never replaced the staff they laid off during the lockdown. We are running with skeleton crews in ER and inpatient units, and just waiting for a Sentinel event. We’re usually taking 4 patients each in ER; now we have 6-8. Inpatient is worse; I recently handed off a patient getting blood (vitals every 15 minutes) to a nurse who already had 9. I felt so bad for him, but there wasn’t anything I could do.
Plus, they cut our housekeeping staff, and now nursing has to clean all the rooms as well.
And they cut our respiratory therapists by half, so when we get a patient in respiratory distress, good luck finding an RT for breathing treatments.
And, I discovered, there are no ambulances to transport between facilities anymore either – we used to have them in house, to take patients to other hospitals, or back to the nursing homes. Now they wait for hours, taking up ER beds.
And, most of our security guards have quit, they won’t say why. This is particularly concerning to me, as the level of incivility right now is off the charts. I found out that a drug seeker who shoved me into a wall the last time I had her, brought a gun with her the following week. And the medical director insists that we can’t ban her bc it would be rayciss, and she has sickle cell, so acting out is how she shows she’s having pain. Ugh.
I just don’t know where the employees have gone.
Which leads me to night before last, when one of the hospitalists (not local) came to see a covid admission I was holding in the ER. He said he was sick of covid.
I tend to keep to myself at work, but I just smiled and said, but we’re only 18 months into two weeks to flatten the curve!
This pissed him off. Then he read her chart and found out that she was not vaxxed, stood at the nurses desk outside her room, and started on a rant about people who won’t get vaxxed, and how they shouldn’t be allowed to even come to the hospital, and how people like YOU (me) are making the pandemic all about politics, and how great Biden and Fauci are. (I never brought them up.) Then he segued into a bunch more rants about how whypeepo in jacked up pickup trucks with their American flags make him uncomfortable, and how the American flag is a symbol of oppression…
He went on for SO long, and was so loud, that I just left and started going into random patients’ rooms to check on them. Came out, still ranting. He stood there shouting for so long that the patient actually got up and left. I really hope she went to another hospital.
When the doctors are driving patients away bc of their race and vacc status…
I’d be interested to hear the reactions of other nurses to her comments. Is your institution as bad, or worse, or better? Paging Aesop…